BANGOR — The Bangor Rams charged through the opening gates on Tuesday night and scored two goals in the first four minutes and 50 seconds of play to put away Edward Little early in a battle of unbeaten Class A North teams.
They added another late to earn a 3-0 win over the visiting Red Eddies.
Bangor’s Joseph Dagher got on the board 48 seconds into the match, when forward Garth Berenyi ripped a through ball to the left side off the goal in front of his teammate, who slotted it in past Eddies goalkeeper Noah Sterling.
“Garth put me through with the through ball and I was at a pretty bad angle,” Dagher said. “But I decided to slot it and it kind of trickled in, so I was pretty happy about that.”
Berenyi got an early goal of his own just four minutes later that put the defending Class A champions up two, early. This time, it was off an overhead pass from David Miller.
“I was free in the six-yard box and I couldn’t have asked for a better ball,” Berenyi said. “I just headed it in.”
The right-to-left cross directly to the head of Bangor’s star forward was enough to wake up the Eddies, who haven’t been tested quite this way yet this season. Focus seemed to be an early concern for Edward Little, also.
“It’s a long bus ride,” Edward Little coach Tim Mains said. “Then we had to sit for the two hour JV game, then they were talking about what they were doing Friday night. They just weren’t focused on the game, and it showed. We weren’t ready to play when that first whistle blew.”
Against the better teams, the Eddies take time to get into rhythm.
“We find ourselves kind of on our heels in the first five minutes of the game,” Mains said. ”That’s kind of been a theme for us this year.”
Bangor got whatever it wanted offensively for the first quarter of the first half, but stuck with the two goals. About fifteen minutes in, Edward Little started getting some shots off. Bangor’s Austin Conway finished with eight saves and was helped by a back line that remained unchanged from their title-winning squad a year ago.
“Our back line played really well,” Berenyi said. “Teams struggled to score on us last year and this year they’re just better than they were.”
In the second half, Edward Little came out with a sense of urgency. Led by captain Alex Thompson, the Eddies got off multiple chances in the first twenty minutes, keeping Bangor on their toes.
“You can’t play rope-a-dope against this team,” Bangor head coach Garth Berenyi said. “They’re a team that, even down two, you can’t assume it’s over.”
With 21 minutes remaining, Bangor earned a penalty kick at the top of the penalty box, but Sterling stopped the shot and the ensuing rebound shot went wide. Four minutes later, Jack Bourassa lifted a free kick over the heads of everyone to land on the head of Berenyi who tapped it in to make it 3-0, the final score.
Though Edward Little took its first loss of the season, Mains stayed positive.
“When the going gets tough, we know we aren’t going to fold,” Mains said. “We had chance after chance and if one of those goes in, then maybe there’s a different result.”
With this win over the second-ranked team in Class A, the Rams’ confidence solidified.
“I think if we play the best we can, then the outcomes will take care of themselves,” Berenyi, the shifty forward, said after his two-goal performance. “We now know there’s no one that we’re afraid of. This year we know we have the team to get back to states.”