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Sports

January 9, 2012

Homecoming a memorable one for Marblehead's Schneider

(Continued)

The win was Schneider's ninth in 14 decisions in 2011-12; he also has a goals-against average of 2.21 and a save percentage of .930.

To call this a local-boy-returns-home-and-hopes-to-play-well story would be like saying "The Usual Suspects" is a decent movie.

For the visiting Canucks, who were outscored, outplayed and simply embarrassed during their three decisive losses in Boston last June, this was more than just another road battle in an 82-game regular season. It was a chance, before a nationally televised audience in both the U.S. and Canada, to show that they could stand up to the big, bad Bruins and beat them in their own barn.

Adding to the intrigue was the Canucks' much talked-about, but hardly surprising, decision not to play multimillionaire starter Roberto Luongo. He had been shelled and ridiculed during the Finals in Boston, giving up 15 goals in less than seven full periods, and it was widely perceived that he wasn't in net Saturday to spare him from another potential meltdown.

But the choice to start the former Marblehead High netminder instead proved genius. While never forced to make a 'Did you see that?' save — "it wasn't a game where I was making 10-bell saves ever other minute," he admitted — Schneider was a brick wall when the situation called for it.

He denied Boston's Daniel Paille on a penalty shot in the first minute of the second period, keeping the game tied at 1-1. Following a goal by Boston's Rich Peverley to give the Bruins a 2-1 lead, he came up big with a pair of in-tight stops against Nathan Horton, then took a Zdeno Chara bomb off his chest protector. Schneider also dove on a Chris Kelly tip-in attempt out front with 1:57 to play and the Canucks clinging to a one-goal lead.

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