The South Shore League’s most valuable player, Norwell’s Timmy Ward found himself without a point through regulation in the Division 4 final.
Given a clean look on a breakaway in overtime, Ward ensured he didn’t leave Causeway Street without etching his name into TD Garden lore.
In one fell swoop, the senior captain erased years of heartbreak for the Clippers with a goal to deliver Norwell boys’ hockey its first title in program history with a 4-3 win over defending champion Sandwich on Sunday.
“I think every kid in the world dreams about this,” said Ward, who finished his senior season with an astounding 74 points for the top-seeded Clippers (25-1).
Ward struck at 3:31 of overtime after No. 2 Sandwich (19-5-1) drew even on a third-period power play courtesy of Avery Richardson.
“When I saw him get going, I said ‘here we go,’ and he put it home,” Norwell coach Jim Casagrande said of Ward’s breakaway. “It’s a pretty special feeling for these kids. I’m thrilled.”
The Clippers led 2-0 off a first-period goal from Quinn Simmons and a second-period strike from Nolan Petro before Colin McIver got one back for Sandwich at 5:29 of the second.
Jack Connolly, who had double-overtime winners for the Blue Knights in their state semifinal win over Norwell and championship triumph over Watertown last season, scored his second goal on Garden ice in as many seasons to tie the game at 2-2 at 12:20 of the middle period.
But Austin Shea put the Clippers back in front in the final minute, a sequence Casagrande described as “enormous” for his team.
“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous at that point,” Shea said. “We knew the history of the Norwell program, but we hadn’t even made it to this point yet.”
The Clippers had never been to a state final prior to Sunday, suffering losses in the state semis in 2009, 2015, and 2022.
With the victory, Norwell won its 19th game in a row, a stretch which began with a 4-1 win over Sandwich in the Jim Gormley Cup.
Moving forward, the Clippers and Blue Knights will meet (at least) twice annually as Sandwich joins the South Shore League in all sports in the fall.
“To have won it last year with so many guys, them coming back hungry to get us back in this position with the target we’ve had on our back . . . I couldn’t be prouder of our group,” Sandwich coach Jordan Mohre said. “They’ve really changed the culture of the program in a way. We were already going in a good direction, but they really solidified the proof that we can win a state championship. We can get back.”
Norwell 4, Sandwich 3 (OT)
at TD Garden, Boston
Sandwich (19-5-1) 0 2 1 0 — 3
Norwell (25-1) 1 2 0 1 — 4
1, N, Quinn Simmons (Austin Shea, Nolan Petrucelli) 5:52. 2, N, Nolan Petrucelli (Joe Perniola) 13:33. 3, S, Colin McIver 9:31. 4, S, Jack Connolly (Colin McIver) 2:40. 5, N, Austin Shea (Aedan Coyle) :42. 6, S, Avery Richardson (James Mawhinney) 7:10. 7, N, Timmy Ward 4:29.
Saves: S, Mitchell Norkevicius, 17; N, Sean Donovan, 17.