Senior goaltender Kyle Penton has been Waltham’s steadiest player all season and nothing changed in the MIAA D1 championship game Sunday at TD Garden as his 31-save performance carried Waltham (18-5-1) to the program’s second state title in a 4-1 decision of Marshfield (16-7-5).
“Kyle has carried us all year. He’s been locked in since November 28th. He’s been great all year, but especially in the playoffs,” Waltham coach John Maguire said. “He doesn’t let a puck in [during] warm-ups, he’s that focused and that tuned in.”
Penton’s performance capped a post-season run that saw him post a pair of shutouts while yielding just three goals in four games.
“It’s a great win and I couldn’t be happier. It started in goal, our defense was solid and we got goals from three lines, so we had contributions all through the team,” said Maguire, in his 33rd year perched on the Hawks’ bench.
Maguire called on members of the 2002 State Championship team for inspiration. Assistant coach Chris MacInnis, a freshman on that team, brought his ring to practice on a couple of occasions. Several alumni spoke to the team and this year’s Hawks watched videos of the last Boston visit, when the barn was still The FleetCenter.
Waltham grabbed a 1-0 lead with 7:36 left in the first period. Senior Chris Egan pounced on the rebound of senior Shawn Wise’s initial shot and swept it past Rams’ goalie Nevan Costello (19 saves).
At the other end, Penton calmly gloved a dangerous backhand bid by Marshfield junior Sean Kennedy with 5:14 left in the period.
Waltham doubled its lead at 5:46 of the second period. Senior Andrew Miller crashed to left side of the crease, collected senior Declan Reynolds’ pass off the rear wall and caromed a shot off the far right post for what would stand as the game-winning goal.
Penton protected the lead in the period’s final minute, smothering junior Paul Rorke’s backhand chip off sophomore Tim Doyle’s 2-on-1 feed.
“We wanted to make sure not to allow too many odd-man rushes because they had a couple of guys who looked like they could score on every shift. We wanted to make them play 200 feet,” Maguire said.
Reynolds extended the lead to 3-0 just 13 seconds into the third period, picking the rebound of senior Gerard Jelloe’s shot off Costello’s pads and sweeping the puck into the right side.
The Rams did not go quietly and finally cracked Penton with 6:03 to play on sophomore Max Burum’s goalmouth tally set up by junior James Kolar.
However, Waltham junior J.T. Logue delivered the dagger from close range with 3:15 remaining, converting senior Brian Pescatore’s pass for a 4-1 lead.
“It’s been a long time coming. Some of our better teams between then and now were in the Super 8. It’s been a great senior class and, other than Kyle, I thought (defenseman) Gerard (Jelloe) was the best player on the ice,” concluded Maguire
The teams played to a 1-1 tie back in December.