Langer leads Storm to title game

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDMay 13, 2014 

BELLINGHAM - Nearly 912 minutes of play have passed since Squalicum last allowed a goal.

That's 11 straight shutouts in the process, with the last goal coming on April 8 against Sehome. Nobody since that point has beaten Trenton Langer, the Storm's senior keeper, and Cedarcrest in the Class 2A Bi-District semifinals was no different.

Langer, who has the good fortune of playing behind Squalicum's formidable backline of Hans Kogan, B.J. James and Spencer Wallace among others, had two late saves to preserve the streak, leading the Storm to a 3-0 win over the Red Wolves on Tuesday, May 13, at Civic Stadium.

"Well, it's mostly the defense," Langer said. "I stand behind them and do what I have to, but they do most of it for me."

That's not necessarily what coach Joe McAuliffe's sees, especially after his performance against Cedarcrest, a team that had only been shut out once this season, entering play Tuesday scoring 61 total goals on the season.

"I think (Langer) just gets better and better each year," McAuliffe said. "He's one of those work horses that just doesn't relax and takes things casual. He just works. He's got the poise now and the confidence and the set of skills he's earned over the years, and it's all coming together."

The win pushes Squalicum into the bi-district championship game against Anacortes, which will be played at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 17, at Sedro-Woolley. The Seahawks earned their spot in the championships after defeating Sedro-Woolley 4-1 Tuesday night, pitting Anacortes against the only NWC team to hand it a loss.

Squalicum, which has yet to lose a game this season with a 16-0-2 overall record, got on the board early against Cedarcrest when Quinn Carpenter netted a goal off a miscue by a Red Wolves defender. The Cedarcrest defender tried to clear the ball through the center of their box, and Carpenter intercepted it and put it in for a 1-0 lead in the ninth minute.

Senior team captain Arne Peterson would add to the Storm's lead in the 32nd minute when he rifled a shot into the net from just outside the keeper box, notching his third goal in two district games.

"He's showing his leadership," said McAuliffe of Peterson. "He's taking the wise shots, and his percentage - his ratio to shots and goals is incredible right now because he's so smart. He's a really smart player."

The half came to a close with Cedarcrest facing a 2-0 deficit, struggling throughout much of the first half to even get a look at Langer.

Squalicum, on the other hand, returned in the second half not resting on its two-goal lead, with Peterson skidding a free kick low only to watch Red Wolves keeper Aaron Kussman make a diving save in the 49th minute. Several minutes later Langer had to make a similar save after a Red Wolves' forward broke through the Storm's clutches.

Cedarcrest would continue to pressure Langer over a critical 10-minute stretch in which the senior keeper was called upon to face a one-on-one situation against Chuey Espinoza. Espinoza was turned away after Langer broke from the net to make a diving save just feet from the goal.

"I expected them to be goals," McAuliffe said. "He came out of nowhere. He has a lot of credit there, and all the backs."

Freshman Tyler Hughes' goal in the 64th minute capped the convincing win for the Storm, setting up a rematch of the regular-season finale against Anacortes on Saturday.

Either way, both NWC teams have earned their place in the state tournament, although a win would improve their respective seeding's.

And for Squalicum, a meeting with the Seahawks is another chance to see the scoreless streak continue.

"It's a great season. It's great to keep it going, but all that matters is that we keep it going," Langer said. "I'm not going to give up a goal if I can help it."

Reach Alex Bigelow at alex.bigelow@bellinghamherald.com or call 360-715-2238. Follow @bhamsports on Twitter for other Whatcom County sports updates.

SQUALICUM 3, CEDARCREST 0

Goal: Quinn Carpenter (Squalicum); Assist: NA; Time: 9:00. Goal: Arne Peterson (Squalicum); Assist: NA; Time: 32:00. Goal: Tyler Hughes (Squalicum); Assist: David Abbott-Smith; Time: 64:00. Shots on goal: Squalicum: 14; Cedarcrest: 5; Saves (goalies); Squalicum: Trenton Langer 5; Cedarcrest: Aaron Kussman 3.

Time and location of 2A Bi-District championship game corrected on May 14.

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