It occurred June 2, 2010. Ken Wood believes if there was one blemish in the Coquitlam Jr. Adanacs' near-perfect season last year, it came that very day.
That's when the community-rival Port Coquitlam Saints -- who would go on to finish the B.C. Jr. 'A' lacrosse league season a sorry 3-16-2 -- clawed the crackerjack Jr. A's to a 7-7 deadlock on Coquitlam's own Poirier Street home floor.
Forget that the Jr. A's fell 9-8 the previous night to the reputable Jr. Salmonbellies in New West, which would be their lone defeat in a splendid 19-1-1 campaign. Coquitlam's general manager Wood remained adamant heading into this week's doubleheader with PoCo that perhaps the one squad in the eight-team loop his Jr. A's should forever be wary of is the Saints. The dreaded Saints.
The 7-0 Jr. A's collided with the 0-5 Saints on Wednesday in the first game of back-to-back battles, with round two involving the Tri-City teams going tonight (Friday) at PoCo Rec Centre, 8 p.m.
The Saints haven't finished ahead of the Jr. A's in the standings since 2006, when PoCo posted a third-place mark of 14-7-0 compared with fifth-place Coquitlam at 11-10, and it doesn't look like that's about to change this season. That means squat to Wood, whose Jr. A's are gunning for their fourth straight regular-season crown while the Saints are coming off two straight seventh-place showings and are merely aiming for a playoff berth in the stretch run.
"I certainly think [the rivalry] still exists," Wood told The Tri-City News before Wednesday's contest. "I told the coaches and players that prior to that game last year, when we had our full line-up, but they battled hard and tied us on our home floor.
"In lacrosse, lots of pride comes in and it all depends on who comes to play."
Saints GM Reg Thompson said last year's draw with Coquitlam was one of his team's few highlights on a season that culminated with PoCo shipping out several key veterans at the trade deadline.
"All we wanted to do all year was rain on their parade," said Thompson, insisting that the tie with Coquitlam should have actually been a PoCo victory. "We actually beat them but the ref didn't see the ball go in the net [on one shot] at a key point in the game. Everyone else did. We really should have won."
While the talent-ridden Jr. A's continue to steamroll opponents, the Saints have had to rely largely thus far on goalie Carson Michaud, who's considered by many the best stopper in the league. Case in point was Michaud's splendid 50-save showing in PoCo's 9-8 overtime loss last Friday to the Delta Islanders.
With hotshots Jimmy Delaney and Richard Lachlan set to return soon to the Saints' line-up, Thompson sees no reason why his squad can't become a formidable crew by season's end. Delaney is currently toiling for England at the world box championships in Prague, Czech Republic and is due back next week, while Lachlan is expected to finish up school abroad and soon follow suit.
"We still have a really young team and it may take some time to reach our full potential," Thompson said.
Meanwhile, the Jr. A's are choked full of snipers, led by the league's top three scorers in Travis Cornwall, Wesley Berg and Brandon Bertoia -- all members of last year's Minto Cup champs. Jr. A's head coach Curt Malawsky said there are still some key players due to return to the line-up before the much-anticipated New West game June 8 but said the Saints always give his guys a tough go.
"It's been like that for years and years, ever since I played minor," Malawsky, a 41-year-old Coquitlam product, said of the Saints/Jr. A's epic conflict. "PoCo has a good, young team and good goaltending [this season] and they always give us a good battle. Hats off to them."
Wood was hardly chalking up four points just yet. "I'm not going into this thing lightly," Wood said. "The old adage is you still have to play the game, so we'll see after Friday."