BANGOR, Maine — The Bangor boys soccer team had very few blemishes en route to its 2008 Eastern Maine Class A championship, its 16-1-1 run marred only by an overtime loss to Scarborough in the state final and a regular-season tie with Messalonskee of Oakland.
The Rams showed some separation from Messalonskee in the first of two regular-season matches they will play this year, controlling play from start to finish during a 3-0 victory Tuesday evening.
“I was thrilled with the way the boys played,” said Bangor coach David Patterson, whose club is now 2-0. “They came right out of the gate very intense. We took advantage of our athleticism, and on top of that I thought we played some really nice soccer.”
Bangor’s performance also featured balance, with a defense featuring senior Clark Noonan, a former midfielder now playing sweeper, limiting Messalonskee’s chances on Rams’ goalie Bud Angst.
Bangor outshot Messalonskee 27-11, with Angst making six saves to earn his second shutout of the young season.
Senior Cody Cormier helped the Rams control the midfield, which served to deny Messalonskee any sustained offensive rushes.
“We’ve got plenty of talented individuals, but that won’t take you that far in the long run,” said Patterson. “We have to learn to play as a team, to compete as a team, and to trust each other. That’s what we worked a lot on during preseason, and it’s starting to pay off because tonight I thought was a really good team performance.”
The Rams outshot Messalonskee 16-4 in the first half but were frustrated offensively until Cormier headed a pass from Brian Loiselle to the right of Eagles’ starting goalie Andrew Wilson with 4:05 left in the period.
“I cut to the middle because we needed a goal, and Brian saw an opening and played a perfect ball right to my head,” said Cormier. “We definitely wanted a goal and were ready to get one.”
Junior striker Phil Frost was rewarded for some hard work three minutes later, one-timing a bullet pass by Jacques Larochelle from the left wing into an open net.
“It was a 50-50 ball between myself and a defender, so I thought I might as well go for it,’ said Larochelle. “We collided and the ball bounced back in front of me, and it was a perfect setup just to cross it right to Phil when I spotted him wide open in front of the goal.”
The net was open because seconds earlier Frost had dribbled the ball toward the goal with a Messalonskee defender in close contact, and they collided with Wilson in the goalmouth during an initial shot attempt.
Wilson was unable to get back up — he left the game with an apparent concussion — and when the ball caromed out to Larochelle, Frost was in position for a second-chance goal.
“It’s all about work, you work and you get rewarded,” said Patterson. “Phil did a really nice job. He plays up front pretty lonely at times, but he challenges for every ball and he chases for every ball even though it doesn’t look like he’s got a chance to get it, and by doing that he makes things happen.”
Bangor’s final goal came 10:31 into the second half on a brilliant fast break featuring Loiselle and senior striker Nick George.
Messalonskee (1-1) had just mounted a brief attack that ended with Angst making a save. He quickly threw the ball out to Loiselle on the left wing, and Loiselle sped to the center of the field before splitting the Messalonskee defense with an accurate pass along the ground to George on the right wing.
George gained control and blasted a low shot to the right of Messalonskee backup goalie Tom Littlefield for his fourth goal of the season.
“Bud made a nice throw, and I carried it up the middle and just slid it right between two defenders to Nick, who made a beautiful run,” said Loiselle. “I saw him making the run at the circle, I just had to wait for the right moment to play it to him.”
JV: Bangor 5-1