In this Oct. 25, 2019, file photo, Hampden Academy and Bangor players compete for the ball during a soccer game in Bangor. Credit: Natalie Williams / BDN

The Bangor and Camden Hills boys soccer teams have developed a solid rivalry in recent years since the Rockport-based Windjammers moved up from Class B to join the Rams.

Wednesday night’s first matchup between teams in nearly two years suggests that the intensity remains between the programs despite not getting the chance to play each other last fall due to COVID-19.

Bangor’s Eli Herzog and Camden Hills’ Elijah Stone each scored 2 minutes and 17 seconds  apart early in the match and the defenses stood strong from there as the teams played through 80 minutes of regulation time and two 5-minute overtimes to a 1-1 tie under the lights at the Bangor High field.

Bangor, which entered the game ranked third in Class A North, is now 3-1-2 heading into a game Friday at Brewer. Bangor edged the Witches 2-1 at home last Friday.

“Tonight we played with a lot more intensity for a longer period of time,” Rams coach Don Erb said. “Sometimes in games you have a tendency to take a little break, but tonight we matched their energy. [Camden Hills] was very aggressive and getting to the ball and I thought we did the same thing, and it was like that for 90 minutes.”

Camden Hills, which had won five straight since a season-opening loss to top-ranked and undefeated Lewiston, is now 5-1-1 heading into Friday’s home game against second-ranked and also undefeated Brunswick.

“I don’t think it was our best game, but we hung tough,” said Windjammers coach Ryan Hurley, whose team was playing its second game in as many days after a 7-1 win over Skowhegan on Tuesday.

“To turn around and get ready to play again I think was a bit of a factor, but [Bangor] played really well and I knew they were going to play really well. They took advantage of their chance and it was a pretty even game.”

Both teams came out aggressively in this battle of regional contenders, but Bangor struck first with 27:43 left in the first half when junior forward Herzog scored on a set play off a restart.

Teammate Wyatt Stevens began the play with a throw-in from the right sideline toward the penalty area, where the ball deflected off the head of freshman midfielder Josh Partal to the  waiting Herzog. His quick blast from 18 yards out in the middle of the field eluded the reach of Camden Hills sophomore goalie Eben Weislogel and went into the right corner of the net.

“We just try to get a skim in the box and it fell on my foot and I was able to put it in,” Herzog said.

Camden Hills responded quickly, as senior Samuel Brownawell attacked from the right corner and centered the ball to classmate Stone, who lofted a shot from about 25 yards out that sailed just over the reach of Bangor goalie Trey Bourassa and just under the crossbar for the equalizing goal with still 25:26 left before intermission.

“I’m used to hitting the big crosses over,” Stone said. “I always get nervous and do too big of a cross and miss it, but I said I was going to score one today back at home so I was excited to get one.”

While Bangor finished with a 14-11 shots advantage, major bids were relatively few during the remainder of the contest.

Bangor sophomore Paul-Emile Maire and Camden Hills freshman Evan Constantine each had threatening shots later in the first half, only to have Weislogel (three saves) and Bourassa (four saves) come up big in net.

The defenses picked up after intermission as the two youthful teams battled to a stalemate in their only meeting of the regular season.

“There was a lot of high energy from both teams,” said Cole Neale, one of just five seniors on Bangor’s roster. “There were not a lot of uncontested touches and touches being strung together and it made it harder to get off a lot of decent shots.”

Ernie Clark

Ernie Clark is a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters...