Defensively, the Coquitlam Express appear to be ready to take the next step into the B.C. Hockey League's elite.
If anything, it's the offence that's been one step behind and a little unlucky to boot.
The Express suffered their first loss of 2012-13 on Sunday, dropping a 2-1 decision to the Victoria Grizzlies, despite outshooting their rival 41-18.
"It was almost we weren't meant to win that game," forward Justin Georgeson said of the defeat that saw the team fall to 4-1 on the year.
"We kind of came out slow and we expected them to be tired, playing their third game in three days.
Not coming out of the gate with some fire kind of backfired on us."
Victoria got goals from brothers Gerry and Myles Fitzgerald - part of the Grizzlies' triplet line that includes Leo Fitzgerald - in the first period, beating Coquitlam native Daniel Urbani in his first junior A start.
Express coach Jon Calvano plugged veteran backstopper Cole Huggins between the pipes to start the second period, which coincided with a more forceful approach.
"We made the goalie changed and [Victoria] only got 10 shots over the final two periods," remarked Calvano. "We just couldn't bury our opportunities. One shift [Brady] Shaw, [Alexander] Kerfoot and [John] Siemer must of had five scoring opportunities but their goalie played well, and that was it."
Rookie Will Cook pulled Coquitlam within a goal late in the second, but despite firing 20 shots at Grizzlie goalie Michael Stiliadis, they fell just short.
Two days earlier, the home team showed some intensity early and the result was the Express' fourth straight win - a 6-2 victory over the Port Alberni Bulldogs.
Georgeson's first marker, a powerplay goal midway through the second period, proved to be the winner. The Maple Ridge native would add another tally in the third as the Express showed some success playing five-on-five.
Also tallying were Cameron Marks, Malcolm McKinney, Zachary Pryzbek and Shaw, with his third of the season.
Over the first five games, five players - Georgeson, McKinney, Pryzbek, Shaw and Siemer - have accounted for 11 of the club's 14 goals.
Captain Mitch Nardi and Kerfoot are still hunting for their first markers, but judging by the numerous chances they had on the weekend, the drought should end soon.
An encouraging sign at this stage of the season is the cool, almost zen-like confidence that the blueline has shown so far, despite consisting of six new faces. The strong defensive work and steady puck moving skills on display, led by rookies Marc Biega, Callum Hofford and Marks, have generated plenty of positive vibes so far.
"This year it's great for us forwards to see how well they're playing back there," Georgeson said of the defensive core. "There's a lot of depth, we've got size and they're contributing on offence. That's a big part of the battle, right there."
While their penalty killing has been perfect over the first five games, Coquitlam now needs the offence to catch up.
"[Against Port Alberni] everything seemed to be clicking," said Georgeson. "Our powerplay was sharp and five-on-five we were cashing in. I think we just need to do more of that."
The Express, who were ranked 11th in the inaugural Canadian Junior A poll, will entertain the Surrey Eagles on Friday (7 p.m. at the Poirier Sports Centre) before heading to the Island for games in Victoria and Nanaimo on Saturday and Sunday.