The Burnaby Lakers are down by two games to Langley but are by no means out of the Western Lacrosse Association semifinal playoffs.
The senior A Lakers dropped Game 2 of the best-of-seven playoff series 9-6 to the Langley Thunder at the Bill Copeland Sports Centre on Aug. 3 after a close one-goal loss in the opener in Langley two days before.
Special teams let the Burnaby team down at home, as Langley scored two goals on the power play and a third with the goalie off for a sixth attacker, while also capitalizing on the shortman on three separate occasions in the matchup.
"Their faceoff team is amazing, - but special teams is what killed us. It's what separates a regular season team from a playoff team," said Burnaby righthander Shaun Dhaliwal, who led Burnaby in the opening game with a fivepoint night.
Dhaliwal also collected his second goal of the series midway through Game 2, after Langley had forged a 4-0 lead early in the second period on the Thunder's second shorthanded goal of the game by Joel McCready.
"Our power play and rag team, we have to move it to a playoff team. We've got to get it to the next step, said Dhaliwal, who is second in team playoff scoring to fellow righty Scott Jones, who garnered four points in Friday's loss.
While Dhaliwal admits the learning curve is steep, he believes that the young Lakers are taking it all in and will come out the better for it.
"It's a long series, and we've learned so much," he said. "(Langley) knows what to do, and we're learning from that. With a young team, we can come hard. We've got two big games next week. We're a couple of goals away."
Game 3 was played in Langley (after NOW deadlines), while Game 4 is back at the Bill Copeland Sports Centre on Thursday at 7: 45 p.m.
In Game 2, playoff scoring leader, Lewis Ratcliff, tallied five times to bring his series-high total to eight goals.
Langley's Athan Iannucci also garnered a pair, including a transition goal off the bench in the final frame that sealed the win for the Thunder.
Dane Stevens tallied two late goals for the Lakers.
"Playoff teams don't make mistakes - everyone's sharp," Dhaliwal said. "It's all about being smart with the ball, and it's going to come, not next year, but next week."
In the opening game of the other semifinal series, Coquitlam downed the league runner-up Victoria Shamrocks at home on Saturday by an 11-9 score.
Game 2 in that series is today (Wednesday) in Coquitlam.