Four young hockey players from Watertown helped the Waltham Youth Hockey Bantam team win the state championship last weekend.
The Waltham Bantam C team defeated another team from Waltham in the final of the Massachusetts Bantam Tier 4 State Championship held in Waltham, said head coach Jay Ferraro.
“We have had an influx many Watertown kids into Waltham Hockey, and the program has gotten really strong,” Ferraro said. “A lot of that is because of kids from Watertown.”
The top line included three Watertown skaters – Keith Ricci, Matt Tardiff and Jordan Landani – and Sean Donohue also played a part in the state championship.
“Landani is an incredible offensive player who is a threat every time he is on the ice,” Ferraro said. “He, Tardiff and Ricci are our big offensive line that has carried us all year.”
Donohue also provided a big contribution, as a penalty killer and also had his share of goals.
“He scored a great goal in the semifinal right off the face off,” Ferraro said.
Bantam, which includes players age 13 and 14, is the highest level of youth hockey. The state championship tournament was held in Waltham, and the Bantam C team had to defeat Framingham in overtime to reach the final, Ferraro said. The team was down 2-0 and 4-2 before wining 5-4 in OT.
“Tardiff scored the game tying goal with three minutes left and scored the game winner in the first minute of overtime,” Ferrarro said.
The tournament included teams from the 12 districts in Massachusetts. The final was an all-Waltham affair, and it drew a big crowd, including Waltham Mayor Jeannette McCarthy. The Bantam C team went up 3-0 early and cruised to a 6-1 win.
The team also benefited from outstanding goaltending from Nick DiGiorgio.
The Bantam C squad also included three girls – Kennedy Macary, Isla MacPherson, Taylor Lopez – who played defense. The Waltham team roster also included J.P. Ferraro, Jack Kavey, Connor Cameron, Mikey Wegerbauer, Alex Tracanna, Matt McLaughlin and Liam Alarie.
Beating Framingham was a big step for the team, which has been playing together for several years. They had lost to Framingham in previous state semifinals, so the win this year was a bit of payback.
The team also won Christmas Tournament in Arlington, was runner up at the Columbus Day Tournament in Waltham and the Falmouth Tournament and won the bronze medal in a tournament in Montreal, Ferraro said.
The championship also marked the end of the youth hockey careers for many players, including Ferraro’s son, J.P.
“Youth hockey is a family (affair). We spend a lot of time together for seven months a year,” Ferraro said. “Most will go on to play in high school or not play any more. It is a terrific way to end a youth hockey career. It has been a great season.”