BANGOR — The Bangor High School boys soccer team allowed just three goals in their 16-1 season a year ago. They reached the Eastern Maine Class A title game.
The Rams, who graduated seven starters including three backs, allowed three on Friday night but managed to hold off archrival Brewer 4-3 in an entertaining evenly-played game featuring a contrast in styles.
The Rams played a possession game and attacked swiftly while Brewer played a more direct style, lofting hopeful long balls for its strikers to chase.
Bangor’s top two returning scorers, seniors Phil Frost (15 goals, 7 assists) and Luke Hetterman (8 & 5) led the way as Frost scored a pair of goals while Hetterman scored one and set up Tom Bearor’s game-winner.
Bangor built a 4-1 lead as Frost and Hetterman supplied them with a 2-0 halftime lead before Yuhi Sasaki got one back early in the second half.
Frost’s penalty kick and Bearor’s goal made it 4-1 before Jake O’Donnell’s penalty kick made it 4-2 with 14:12 remaining.
Brewer’s Ryan Adams had a great opportunity to cut the deficit to one when a Tristan Wortman pass deflected over to him in front of a half-empty net. But Bangor goalie Jesse Perkins flashed across the goal mouth to get his leg on it.
“There are moments in any game in any sport on which a game hinges and that was one of those,” said Bangor coach Dave Patterson. “Jesse came up big at just the right time. He made a fabulous save. If he doesn’t make that save, we would have had our backs to the wall. That made a huge difference.”
“I thought I had it all the way,” said Adams. “I just tried to put a touch on it and put it in but he made a great save.”
“I was on the other side and booked it across as fast as I could. I slid and kicked it,” said Perkins.
Brewer’s Ray Bessette capped the scoring with a perfectly-placed 20-yard direct kick into the upper far corner with 30 seconds left.
Frost opened the scoring when he maneuvered his way into space at the top of the 18 and tucked a low shot inside the post to the left of goalkeeper Spencer Valley, who was making his debut in goal.
Hetterman made it 2-0 with 3:41 left when a Frost cross deflected into the air and was mishit by a Witch defender.
“He mis-kicked it and I was right there. I put it in the short side,” said Hetterman.
Sasaki scored 2:13 into the second half when he chipped a Cam Coutts pass over Perkins from the top of the box.
Just 2:12 later, Hetterman was tripped in the penalty area and Frost converted from the penalty spot.
Bearor expanded the lead off a perfect feed from Hetterman. It came a minute after he squandered a similar chance off a Hetterman pass.
“I beat a defender, cut back across the 18 and played it across the net hard, hoping Tom could get a flick on it,” said Hetterman.
“I just had to beat a defender and get to the ball first,” said Bearor.
“Our kids played very well. They played their hearts out, especially in the second half,” said Brewer coach Mark Savage.
“We thought Brewer would come out, scrap and play well and they did,” said Patterson. “Coach Savage had them ready. I thought we did a really nice job responding.”
Brewer attempted 20 shots to Bangor’s 19. Perkins made four saves while Valley had three.