University of Southern Maine defenseman Caleb Reinhard (26) tries to pull away from Bowdoin’s Ian Strudwick (6) during Wednesday’s men’s college soccer game on Pickard Field in Brunswick. The Polar Bears rolled to a 6-1 victory. (Bob Conn / The Times Record)

BRUNSWICK  — Through six games this season, the Bowdoin College men’s soccer team had tallied a mere eight goals, including only one in the past three NESCAC contests that resulted in ties.   

A goal 43 seconds into Wednesday’s home match with the University of Southern Maine started the Polar Bears on the right foot, and a five-goal explosion in the second half resulted in a 6-1 Bowdoin victory.  

Charlie Ward found his game in the second half, scoring three straight Bowdoin goals.  

“He really earned it. He had played really well in previous games and had not been able to

Bowdoin College’s Hayden Weatherall (14) moves the ball away from University of Southern Maine striker Joseph Kalilwa during Wednesday’s soccer game in Brunswick. (Bob Conn / The Times Record)

convert his chances,” said Bowdoin (3-1-3) coach Scott Wiercinski of Ward, who stands 6-foot-4 and provides a big target. “In practices it seems every day he is scoring a bunch of goals, and it was just a matter of time until he broke the seal.” 

Ward scored his first goal 1:10 into the second half off a feed from Alex Chaban.  

The Huskies (0-7-2) closed their deficit to a 2-1 on a Sean Brueninghaus tally, finishing a free kick from former Mt. Ararat High School standout Chris Pepin. 

From there, it was all Bowdoin. Ward scored a pair goals three minutes apart, and unassisted tallies from Matt Uek and Ian Strudwick completed the scoring.  

Entering Wednesday, Bowdoin’s last three contests were a pair of 0-0 ties (Middlebury and Wesleyan) and a 1-1 deadlock with Bates.  

“We had played a lot of good teams that are defensively difficult to break down, so it was good to see the ball go in today,” said Wiercinski, whose Polar Bears travel to Hartford, Connecticut, on Saturday to face NESCAC foe Trinity. “The guys have been thinking a lot when they play unfortunately, and that causes them to be conservative and slow.”  

Bowdoin’s Max McPherron (8) plays the ball as USM’s Zekariya Shaib is about to make a slide tackle. (Bob Conn / The Times Record)

“It was important for our team to have that mentality to be more aggressive, and today we were able to capitalize,” said Ward after his first three goals of the season. “Everyone seemed ready to go today, and my teammates fed me some great balls. Today was a relief. We just need to keep going and keep improving.” 

Quick strike 

Jason Oliver and Strudwick hooked up right out of the gate, with Oliver chipping a pass from Strudwick past USM keeper Cameron Atherton (nine saves) for a 1-0 lead in the game’s first minute.  

Bowdoin had its chances in the opening 45 minutes, but Atherton made three saves to keep

Bowdoin College’s Jack Selig (16) plays the ball while being pursued by University of Southern Maine’s Chris Pepin (8) during Wednesday’s men’s soccer game at Brunswick. Pepin, a graduate of Mt. Ararat High School, is a USM senior. The Polar Bears down the visiting Huskies, 6-1. (Bob Conn / The Times Record)

things tight at the break.  

After the Huskies made it 2-1 in the second half, the game picked up in intensity, with USM receiving a pair of yellow cards, including one to former Mt. Ararat standout James Hutchinson, who had a solid game battling the Polar Bears.  

Bowdoin adjusted its game, with the defense of Dylan Reid, Hayden Weatherall and Matt Ward cutting off the visitors near midfield before sending the ball back into USM territory.  

“We were being a little bit more aggressive with our defense and it led to some easy through-balls that created some chances going forward,” Wiercinski said. “We talked a lot about playing free and fast, just going after it.” 

Bowdoin starting goaltender Michael Webber made two saves in 80 minutes. Backup Sam McDowell did not face a shot. The Polar Bears held a 26-6 edge in shots, a 15-3 advantage in shots on goal and a 13-2 corner-kick edge.  

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