Champions' return could catapult Coquitlam Sr. Adanacs to long 2022 campaign

by Yvan Lomas

Three members of the NLL-champion Colorado Mammoth are back in the Tri-Cities, just in time for the final half of what's been a season beyond the team's expectations.
Kyle Balzer

15The Coquitlam Adanacs in Western Lacrosse Association (WLA) action against the New Westminster Salmonbellies on June 28, 2022.Coquitlam Sr. Adanacs

The Coquitlam Adanacs could soon be on the trajectory of a deep 2022 season, thanks to three players and a coach that just returned from hoisting a trophy south of the border.

Brett McIntyre, Erik Turner and Coquitlam's own Jalen Chaster recently rejoined the Tri-Cities' senior 'A' club after claiming the National Lacrosse League (NLL) championship with the Colorado Mammoth — backed by bench boss Pat Coyle.

He's also the head coach of the A's, with 2022 as his first stint with the local box team.

Despite missing four games due to the NLL playoffs, Coquitlam is currently 8-2 atop the Western Lacrosse Association (WLA) standings just past the halfway mark of the 18-game season — the first in two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Coyle says he's impressed with the players' drive to win this year.

And now, with the return of three professionals to the roster, the possibilities could tip the scales in favour of the purple and gold.

"Our league seems like it doesn't really get going until now," explains Coyle in an interview with the Tri-City News.

"So I think there's a chance that we could do that. I think we could go make some noise for sure."

While the three Mammoth players were away fighting to win an NLL banner, the Adanacs relied on each other to play a pace that met their expectations.

Up until now, it appears the team has done just that as they maintain an undefeated home record of 6-0 and have only given up double-digit goals three times.

Coquitlam is backed by goaltender Christian Del Bianco, who Coyle believes has been a key factor in the success of the A's season so far.

The second-year athlete is leading in three stat categories: wins (8), goals against average (8.59) and save percentage (.843).

Del Bianco also have the second-most saves in the WLA with 435, which Coyle says is a testament to his commitment to be the best.

"Christian is one of the best goalies in lacrosse. It sure gives us the opportunity to win games that we wouldn't be winning. Without a doubt, our record wouldn't be what our record is without him."

On the floor, Matt Delmonico leads the offensive drive with 39 points in 10 games, including 15 goals and a team-leading 24 assists.

John Hofseth has the most goals so far at 21 through nine contests.

The Adanacs only have three regular-season home games left before playoffs and they'll be compressed together in a homestand that stretches 11 days.

Coquitlam will face-off with Victoria on Saturday (July 9, 7 p.m.), Nanaimo on July 16 (7 p.m.) and Maple Ridge on July 20 (7:30 p.m.).

Coyle hopes fans can fill the Poirier Sport and Leisure Complex those nights in igniting a spark for his players.

"I still don't think we've really seen how good we can be.... Every night, we're gonna work hard. And yeah, I think we were proud to be able to play here in Coquitlam and in front of our city and for our city. It would be awesome if people came out and supported us."

Meanwhile, the Adanacs are back on the concrete tomorrow night (July 7) for their second of three meetings with New Westminster this year, following the July long weekend break.

Coquitlam will square up against the Salmonbellies 7:30 p.m. on the road at Queen's Park Arena.