HAMPDEN — A highly anticipated first meeting of the season between the Bangor and Hampden Academy boys soccer teams lived up to expectations Monday evening.
It’s just that no one scored.
Hampden threatened both early and late in the contest while Bangor had its best chances during the middle stages of the match, but the two Eastern Maine Class A powers had to settle for a 0-0 draw after two five-minute overtimes on the artificial turf at the Weatherbee Complex.
The tie gives defending state champion Bangor a 5-0-1 record and leaves intact an undefeated regular-season streak that now numbers 73 matches (68-0-5) since a loss to Hampden in September 2006.
“We played relatively well considering the fast surface, we’re not really used to it, we’re used to the bumpy field back at home,” said Bangor senior Alex Shi. “It’s probably the best team we’ve played so far this season, so it’s a step up as far as the competition we’ve been playing.”
Hampden, which gained a share of first place in the Eastern A Heal point ratings with Lewiston after the stalemate, is now 3-1-1.
“I really thought we played probably our best soccer of the year, and probably the best soccer we’ve played in about two years,” said Hampden coach Josh Stevens.
Hampden came out strongest early, with an apparent goal by Ben Clark off a feed from Cooper Antone eight minutes into the match waved off by an offsides violation.
That duo nearly converted again moments later, with a blast by Antone hitting the right goal post and caroming across the crease to Clark, whose shot off the rebound went wide to the left of Bangor freshman goalie Liam Harrigan.
“They started out pretty fast, I’d say they had a better start than we did,” said Bangor senior John Szewczyk. “We don’t necessarily have the best starts but we turn it on in the middle and the end.”
Clark suffered an right leg injury later in the first half when he collided with the left goal post while attempting to head the ball into the net. He did not return to action.
“We had a couple of good chances early,” said Antone, a junior. “It was sad to see Ben get hurt off the post, that was a little disappointing, but we know what we have to work on.”
One of Bangor’s best bids came with 14 minutes left in the second half when freshman Nate Bach took a pass from teammate Alex Campbell and rocketed a 20-yard shot off the top of the crossbar.
“One of the key points during our pregame was that they were going to come out strong after us, so we did our best to hold them off and eventually we settled in and started playing with them and got our chances,” said Shi.
Hampden rallied with two threatening bids in the final two minutes of regulation, the first a straightaway shot by Cameron Libbey and the second a header from amid a scramble near the goal crease after a corner kick, but Harrigan turned away both attempts.
“It was a well fought game,” said Antone. “Bangor played very well, but I think we came really prepared today and we wanted this game really bad. I don’t think we got the result we wanted but we played to our best.”
Hampden finished with a 17-13 advantage in shots. Logan Poirier made five saves in goal for Hampden, while Harrigan had eight saves for Bangor.
“We knew we were going to get a game tonight,” said Bangor coach David Patterson. “Hampden’s probably the best team we’ve played this year, and I was thrilled with the way our boys responded in this environment on this surface. We gave as good as we got.”