The Golden Eagles’ reaction to tying state powerhouse Squalicum offered a glimpse of how far the program has come in a year’s time.
A scoreless tie last spring would have been a major steal. Although Ferndale was pleased earning a point in the league standings Thursday, April 14, against the talented Storm, and somewhat fortunate, the Golden Eagles weren’t celebrating.
“I think the boys were ready to prove something today,” Ferndale coach Rigel Weis said. “To get a 0-0 tie against Squalicum, for our program, it is a good result. They have a lot of class and a lot of quality on that team, and they have showed that the past couple of years.”
Ferndale and Squalicum entered play Thursday resting in the top half of the Northwest Conference standings. Both clubs, looking to bounce back from early week defeats, had to settle for a scoreless draw at Ferndale High School.
While Ferndale (5-2-3, 3-1-2 NWC) accepted the tie, and Storm coach Joe McAuliffe said Squalicum’s play was much cleaner than a few days prior when it lost to Bellingham, the Storm (6-3-2, 3-2-2 NWC) certainly played well enough to come away with the win.
Squalicum put seven shots on goal compared to Ferndale’s two and largely dictated the run of play.
“Surprisingly, I am actually happy,” McAuliffe said. “Not that I’m glad to walk away with a tie. That’s frustrating because we shot 15 shots to their four and I thought we held them off defensively. We created a lot of opportunities, and we took care of some of the bugaboos we had in the midfield that bleed into the backline.”
Squalicum’s Tyler Hughes and Ale Tomasi each had an open shot on goal in the first half, but the Storm’s best scoring chance came in the 60th minute when Carl Peterson sent a nice cross into the box to Ben Peterson, who headed the ball toward goal from close range.
But Ferndale keeper Nikita Leonovets lunged to his right, turning away the shot attempt to preserve the tie. The save was the best of several impressive stoppages from the Golden Eagles’ keeper.
“Nikita has been an all-star all year for us so far, and that speaks to our record,” said Weis, whose Golden Eagles have yielded only two goals through six league games. “The only two goals against us were last game.”
Ferndale’s best scoring chance came in the 30th minute off a corner. Logan Roegle served a ball into the box, but an unmarked Sam Ford was unable to threaten Storm goalkeeper Owen Davis-Bower with his header.