BANGOR – The Bangor High School boys soccer team knew its 59-game regular season unbeaten streak would be challenged by archrival Hampden Academy on Saturday afternoon.
But Bangor senior striker Phil Frost scored a pair of first-half goals, including a highlight-reel game-winner, and fellow senior striker Luke Hetterman added an insurance goal in the second half as the Rams beat the Broncos 3-1.
Bangor improved to 6-0-1 on the season and 56-0-4 in regular-season play since the start of the 2006 season.
Senior striker Graham Safford scored his 13th goal of the season for Hampden Academy, which fell to 3-2-2.
Frost opened the scoring just 2:56 into the game when he ran on to a nice through ball by Jacques Larochelle, took a touch and beat Broncos goalie Logan Poirier with a powerful 15-yard shot into the corner.
Safford answered 8:12 later off a wild flurry inside the six.
Lukas Kurz lofted a well-placed free kick into the box and the Broncos generated three point-blank scoring attempts, two of which were saved by Bangor goalie Jesse Perkins, before Safford drilled it home.
But Frost gave the Rams the lead for good with 10:28 left in the half as he chested the ball down, tapped it to his left and rifled a 25-yarder into the top corner to the left of the fully-extended Poirier.
“I brought it down, cut it to my left foot and saw the goalie was a little off his line so I just let it fly,” said Frost whose goal was his 10th of the season.
“That was a tough shot,” said Poirier. “If I was back a little bit, I might have been able to save it. But it was too hard.”
“[Frost] is a fantastic player. He is a player every coach would want. He is so dangerous anywhere near the penalty area. He made us pay today,” said Hampden coach Josh Stevens.
After an evenly-played first half with each team attempting 13 shots, the Rams took control of the game in the second half and Hetterman finished off a well-crafted sequence with his seventh goal of the season.
Bobby Reasso sent a long diagonal ball into the box where Adam King headed it across to the far post where an unmarked Hetterman ran on to it and tucked a 10-yarder back across the grain into the far corner.
“I saw Adam camping under it so I knew he was going to try to play it across and he did. It was a perfect header. I couldn’t miss from there,” said Hetterman.
“Coach [Dave Patterson] has been stressing putting the ball across the goal mouth if we aren’t in position to get a shot on goal,” said King.
“He was close to me,” said Poirier, who had no chance on the well-angled shot. “That one was tough to save because it was on the ground. I was moving the other way and I couldn’t react quick enough to it.”
Bangor’s superior depth played a role in the second half on the sultry day as did a pair of tactical moves.
Bobby Winchell received help from Jack Stacey marking Safford and they held him to two wide shot attempts.
Safford had seven shot attempts in the first half including his goal and three others that required saves by Perkins.
“We tried to make sure we weren’t too tight on him in case he turned (around us) or they clipped the ball over our heads (for Stafford to run on to). When they tried to get the ball to him, we tried to step in front (and intercept it),” said Winchell.
“It worked out pretty well. And they struggled to get him the ball,” said Stacey.
The other move saw Patterson instruct midfielders King and Larochelle to pull up five yards further to better control the midfield.
“We gave them a little too much room in the midfield in the first half,” explained Patterson. “By moving (King and Larochelle up), that enabled them to get closer to where the ball so we were in better position to win the ball and to defend them so they couldn’t turn and go forward. That meant the quality of ball (Hampden) could play wasn’t as good so they couldn’t put us under as much pressure (in the back). As a result, the quality of ball we could play forward was better.”
Hampden managed just six shot attempts in the second half, four of which went on goal, but Perkins wasn’t severely tested on any of them.
“We played pretty well in the first half but they came out a lot stronger and harder in the second half,” said Safford.
Perkins finished with nine saves on 19 shots while Poirier had eight on 23 shots.
Stevens was pleased with his team’s first-half performance but said “we couldn’t seem to get any type of momentum in the second half. It was evident in the score.
“We don’t feel like we left it all on the field today. We’ll be better next time,” added Stevens.
Hetterman called his team’s performance “definitely our best of the year.”