BANGOR, Maine — The early stages of the 2008 school-boy soccer season are about both style and substance for the Bangor Rams.

Substance on Saturday came in the form of a 3-0 victory over Brewer that improved coach David Patterson’s club to 2-0.

Style came in how Bangor earned its second straight shut-out win, with sufficient defense and crisp passing that showed itself especially late in the first half when the Rams built a 2-0 lead.

“We passed twice as well as we did in the Hampden game [a 3-0 Bangor win Thursday],” said Bangor senior back Ryan Larochelle.

“We really connected the dots well today and then went forward whereas against Hampden we were just trying to run them over and play forward and that’s when it got kind of chippy toward the end of the game.”

Dan Taft and Chad Kelley scored first-half goals for Bangor, while Adam King provided an insurance goal 12 minutes into the second half in support of goalie Alan Reese, who preserved the shutout with four saves.

Larochelle and Zane Gray each had an assist for the Rams.

Brian Kearns made seven saves for 0-3 Brewer, a youthful squad that was able to draw some positives from the loss to its crossriver rival.

“I’m extremely happy with our effort,” said Brewer coach Mark Savage. “We’ve been working hard on developing an attitude of approaching each and every game with great pride.

“Bangor stuck in a couple of goals and they played hard, but it’s a fun game when we come over here and I was just tickled to death with our effort.”

Taft gave Bangor a 1-0 lead with 17:44 left in the first half, as he gained control of the ball about 35 yards from the goal, then dribbled past a Brewer defender before lining a low shot just inside the far goal post.

I saw [teammate] Jacques {Larochelle] going for the ball and I knew that I was running onto it and had more speed going forward than he did so I called him off,” said Taft, a senior midfielder. “I got the ball and was able to beat one defender and then picked out a corner.”

Bangor added to its lead on a restart with 5:58 left in the half. Gray launched a long throw-in from the right sideline directly toward the near goal post. Kelley raced in toward the post and skimmed a header behind him into the near side of the goal to give the Rams a 2-0 cushion.

Brewer’s best scoring bids came early in the second half, as Luke Thomas headed a corner kick by Brian Kelley off the top of the crossbar, and moments later Evan Nadeau got off a solid shot with Reese out of the crease that required Gray to clear it away.

“We put one off the crossbar, and had one or two go just wide,” said Savage, “and I assume it really made [Bangor] nervous. I know I would have been if I was in their shoes.”

Bangor scored its final goal with 28:03 left in the match, when Larochelle took a pass from Mack Susi and worked the ball into the left corner before lofting a cross toward the goal crease that King redirected into the net with a diving header.

“One of the things we’ve been working on is not trying to just go forward all in one motion,” said Larochelle. “We got it forward to Mack and Mack held it with a guy on his back and then laid it off to me. Then I was able to go forward.”

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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...