April 05, 2020

Rams show off playoff form in victory

BANGOR – Bangor High School boys soccer coach Adam Leach succinctly summed up a dominant first-half performance that guided his Rams to an impressive 4-1 win over archrival Hampden Academy Saturday afternoon.

“That’s as good a half as we can play and it’s against the right team at the right time, ready for the playoffs,” said Leach.

Bangor avenged its only loss, 1-0 at Hampden on Sept. 12, and improved to 11-1-1. The Broncos fell to 9-4.

The Rams generated a 15-2 shots-at-goal advantage in the first half and took a 3-0 lead on goals by senior striker Tony Martinez, freshman striker Nick George and senior midfielder JoJo Hwalek.

Martinez added a second-half insurance goal before HA’s Brad Haase capped the scoring.

“They outplayed us at the beginning of the game. We didn’t quite come out [ready] for it. That’s all there is to be said,” said HA senior sweeper and captain Josh Groleau.

Bangor sophomore right back Ryan Larochelle said, “That was the best half we’ve played all year. We could have finished a few more times but we passed really well.”

Larochelle was a pillar of strength in the back along with his brother Christian, the left back; sweeper Nate Frazier and stopper Ross Allen.

Larochelle said everybody, including the strikers, pressured the ball to stifle the Broncos’ attack.

“We had somebody on their backs all the time. That slowed them up a lot so we could get back and recover,” said Larochelle.

Hwalek said the Rams had a “real good practice a couple of nights ago and everybody came into the game confident. It was Seniors Day and we didn’t want to lose at home to our arch-rivals.”

After Bangor squandered four glittering scoring chances over the first 10 minutes, Martinez broke through 13:33 into the game.

Martinez ran on to a long pass from Christian Larochelle and rifled home a tough-angle shot off the hands of Bronco goalie Cam Cox.

“Christian gave me a great ball over their defensive line and I outsprinted one of their defenders to the ball. I saw the goalie and shot as hard as I could to the near post and, luckily, it went in,” said Martinez.

“As soon as we got that goal, everything seemed to click,” added Martinez.

George made it 2-0 7:49 later as he broke in alone off a Brian Loiselle through-ball, headed the ball to his foot and directed it past Cox.

“The goalie was on the left side so I put it to the right side,” said George.

Hwalek’s goal made it 3-0 with just 30 seconds left. He took a Matt Goodell pass and launched a 30-yarder that cleanly beat Cox off a deflection.

“It was actually going toward the far post but it tipped off one of their players and went right in the middle of the net,” said Hwalek.

“It froze the goalie,” said Martinez.

HA played much better in the second half but it was too little, too late.

Aaron Taft had three saves on 12 shots while Cox finished with seven stops on 20 shots.

JV: Bangor 2-1 (OT)

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