BANGOR, Maine — The Hampden Academy boys soccer team cured its head coach’s seven-year ache in dramatic fashion Tuesday evening.
Senior forward Dan Good provided the elixir, scoring the winning goal with 2:23 left in the second overtime for a 2-1 victory that sends the Broncos into postseason play as the top seed in Eastern Maine Class A.
The win was the 12th straight for Hampden, but the first in Josh Stevens’ seven years with the the program — the last six as head coach — over his alma mater.
“This one was definitely for coach Stevens,” said Hampden senior Cam Scott. “Seven years without a win against Bangor, we’re very happy that we got it for him.”
The wait for that coaching breakthrough win had at times been agonizing, including earlier this season when Bangor scored a 2-1 win at Hampden, and that may have made this win even more satisfying.
“It’s my sixth varsity season, and I had one year with the jayvees before that and I’d never beat them one time,” he said. “Coming from Bangor, graduating in 1996, you always have in mind that you want to come back home and beat that team.
“But hat’s off to them. Coach [Dave Patterson] always has them ready to play and they were ready to play tonight. We never really were able to get into our offensive game plan, but in the end we were able to get one into the back of the net in the second overtime and that’s what it took.”
This match at times seemed destined for stalemate, with goals by Bangor’s Sam Huston and Hampden’s Tristan Gardner 27 seconds apart early in the first half setting up an end-to-end battle that featured plenty of attacking but only a few dangerous scoring bids.
Then came the sudden finish, which began when Gardner gained control in Bangor’s defensive end and sent a pass behind the defense to Good, who patiently converted the game-winner.
“I got a great pass from Tristan, and I was going to shoot it earlier but ended up waiting for the goalie to come out and just chipped it over him,” said Good.
The victory not only leaves 13-1 Hampden as the top seed regionally but means the Broncos will play all their postseason matches on artificial turf, their preferred terrain given that their home field features turf and the state final will be on a similar surface at McMann Field in Bath.
“I think we have a great advantage because we have the turf for every single game we win now [through] states,” said Good. “That’s what we were hoping to get.”
Bangor (11-3) will finish third in Eastern A behind Hampden and Lewiston.
“We’ve played everybody in the league and we’ve proven we can play with everybody, and the quality with which we’re playing is first-class,” said Patterson. “We’re a little naive at times defensively but other than that across the board we’re playing some really, really good soccer.”
Bangor broke on top 6:25 into the contest when Huston one-timed a corner kick by freshman Carson Atherley into the net, but Hampden answered less than a half-minute later when Gardner popped the ball off an assist from Good.
“We talked on the way over about how if we scored first that we didn’t want to have a defensive letdown and if they scored first that we wanted to increase the attacking pressure, and as soon as they scored it’s like it clicked,” said Stevens. “It’s sad that it takes us falling behind sometimes for that to happen, but we got a goal to get it even and we played that way most of the game.”