SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Sports

March 8, 2010

Headers headed back to state semis

Marblehead goes Green (Line) to upset previously unbeaten Concord-Carlisle in Division 3 North final

(Continued)

It was Graves' goal that proved to be the game-winner for third-seeded Marblehead. Tied at 2-2 heading into the final period, Haley got control of the puck in his own end and started a beautiful tic-tac-toe play that led to the goal. He fed Gelineau in the neutral zone, who in turn hit a streaking Graves with a beautiful head-man pass up ice.

Skating down his off (left) wing, Graves had space and time before firing a blast that beat Concord-Carlisle netminder Steve Saul glove side for his sixth goal of the season.

"We knew they were mortal, and we knew some of their games had to have been close," said senior defenseman Anders Gundersen. "We couldn't look at them as an almighty superpower; we had to think of this as just another game."

Rather that sit on their lead and hope they could simply hold the Patriots (20-1-2) off the scoreboard again, Marblehead kept attacking and putting pressure on Saul. "It seems like every time a football team plays a prevent defense, they give up a touchdown," mused Marblehead head coach Bob Jackson. "We didn't want to give up any touchdowns."

Instead, the Headers sent their large crowd of fans who made the trip home happy when junior left wing Ryan Dempsey scored his team-leading 17th goal on an empty netter with 41 seconds to go.

"I was going to make sure to slam that puck in (the open net)," smiled Dempsey outside the locker room.

"When Demps scored that empty net goal (with 41 seconds to play, sealing the win), I couldn't even stand up. I was in total shock," Cuzner said. "I still don't know what to say. It's an amazing feeling."

Cuzner described how his team had adopted a Giants vs. Patriots mentality, referring, naturally, to the Giants' stunning upset of the unbeaten Pats in Super Bowl XLII three seasons ago. (Ironic, considering the nickname of Marblehead's opponent on this night). It was, he said, the perfect mentality to take into a contest as pressure packed as this one.

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