Peterborough Phantoms’ bid to finish as English Premier League runners-up was boosted last night (March 13) by their own result and one a couple of hundred miles away.
The city team produced a charge in the final period to earn a 4-1 victory at basement side Bracknell - an 18th success triumph against the Bees.
That outcome in Berkshire ensured they held onto second spot in the standings while an overtime loss for Guildford against Manchester in Deeside meant the gap between the two teams grew to two points.
Phantoms also possess a game in hand on the Flames and boast a superior head-to-head record in the event of the sides finishing level.
Therefore they could wrap up second place - behind champions Basingstoke, who clinched the title last night - by beating Telford at Planet Ice on Wednesday (March 16).
Phantoms still have to go to Guildford on Saturday (March 19) before finishing the season at home to Sheffield the following night.
Coach Slava Koulikov said: “First of all I must congratulate Basingstoke on winning the league. They have been tremendous throughout the season and deserve to finish top.
“But the fight for second place goes on and Guildford dropping a point last night helps us.
“As long as we get two more points we will be guaranteed second place and the aim is to pick them up on Wednesday.”
Phantoms completed a clean sweep of victories against Bracknell for the third successive season with their latest win last night.
They hit the front early on through Milan Baranyk, but were pegged back in the second period through a short-handed goal from Bees man Carl Thompson.
But Phantoms upped the ante to take command in the final session courtesy of two goals in the space of 35 seconds.
Will Weldon edged them back ahead before Marc Levers quickly extended the cushion. Baranyk then bagged a powerplay clincher in the closing stages to secure a second successive four-point weekend.
Koulikov added: “We pulled it off in the end, but I must give full credit to Bracknell for the way their young guys fought.
“I think our quality eventually shone through and that was important as our agenda for the weekend was to pick up four points.
“We played decently enough in the first period and controlled the game without having a lot of outstanding chances.
“But Bracknell got a goal back and fed off that to put us on the back-foot in the second period. We were pleased to get back into the locker room level in all honesty.
“We regrouped, corrected a few things and scored the goals we needed to win the game.”
26:17 Thompson (SH) ass: Smital/Bendik
2:28 Baranyk ass: Scott
45:37 Weldon ass: Pick/Pliskauskas
46:12 Levers ass: Scott/McGiffin
56:13 Baranyk (PP) ass: Levers/Scott
Bracknell – Lukas Smital
Phantoms – Craig Scott