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Sheen helps 'Saders shine.

Byline: Steve Kendall

WORCESTER - Everett Sheen has scored many big goals in his two years at Holy Cross, but none was bigger than the one he scored last night.

Sheen's goal at 8:24 of overtime lifted the seventh-seeded Crusaders to a 1-0 win over 10th-seeded American International in an Atlantic Hockey Tournament opening-round game at the Hart Center.

The Crusaders (12-18-5) advance to next weekend's best-of-three quarterfinals at second-seeded Rochester Institute of Technology. The two teams have met four times this year, with the Tigers handling the Crusaders fairly easily in all four games. RIT has outscored HC, 19-4, in the four meetings.

The game was a defensive struggle throughout, with neither team creating any outstanding scoring chances, and neither HC's Ian Dams nor AIC's Tom Fenton were forced into any jaw-dropping saves.

Even the game-winner was not a work of art, but the result of hard work, a turnover, and a smart shot selection by Sheen.

Sheen and Brodie Sheahan teamed to force a turnover just outside the AIC blue line. Sheahan picked up the errant pass and fed Sheen, who had quickly stopped and headed back toward the Yellow Jackets' zone. He took a couple strides over the blue line and, using the AIC defenseman as a screen, fired a low wrist shot that beat Fenton low stick side for the win.

"I couldn't ask for a better guy to make a play at the blue line than Broadie Sheahan, and I couldn't have a better guy shooting than Everett Sheen," HC coach Paul Pearl said. "Everett made a nice play to roll his wrists to the left to get the shot through. Their goalie never had a chance."

It was the first time AIC held an opponent scoreless through regulation since Jan. 30, 2007. The Crusaders, on the other hand, have allowed just two AIC goals in the last 255 minutes the two teams have played - including a pair of shutouts.

The Yellow Jackets dominated the opening period, outshooting HC, 13-4. Fortunately for the Crusaders, Dams was on top of his game early, making point-blank stops on Mike McMillan and Michael Penny and others on Steve McLeod and Chris Campanale to keep AIC off the board.

On the other end, Fenton was not as busy, but still needed to make stops on Jay Silvia and J.P. Martignetti to keep the same scoreless.

The Crusaders had the better of the opportunities in the second, thanks in part to a couple of power-play chances. Gia Baldassari rang a shot off the post in the opening minutes of the period, while Fenton made a nice stop on Sheahan.

Perhaps the best chance came when Matt Celin beat his man wide down the left wing wall before cutting tight in front of the crease and just missing wide.

Dams did not see much action in the third, but came up with a big skate save on Tom Mele's wrist shot from 25 feet out with 2:45 to play in regulation.

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Title Annotation:SPORTS
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Mar 8, 2009
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