Peterborough Phantoms saw a precious point slip through their grasp on a Saturday (December 15) that came complete with a perfect start but a painful finish.
The city team were pipped 4-3 on penalties by Basingstoke in an exciting NIHL Division One clash in which they boasted a three-goal advantage with seven minutes of regulation time remaining.
But they were stung by a late comeback from their Hampshire hosts who also went on to snatch the extra point in the shoot-out.
Phantoms showed no signs of an NIHL Autumn Cup hangover following their trophy-winning exploits of the previous night as they raced into an early advantage with James White’s opener after 90 seconds soon being followed by a powerplay strike from import Petr Stepanek.
And the lead increased in the second period when Nathan Pollard got in on the act by punishing a sloppy line change from the hosts, but Phantoms’ grip on the game disappeared late on as their Friday (December 14) heroics possibly caught up with them.
Alex Sampford began the Basingstoke revival and they struck again through George Norcliffe less than a minute later.
And the Bison then made the most of a late powerplay as Russell Cowley netted inside the closing minute while Phantoms captain James Ferrara sat a tripping penalty.
Neither side could find the net again during five frantic minutes of overtime, but the clash was eventually settled in a shoot-out.
Both sides saw their first penalties – from imports Richard Bordowski and Stepanek respectively – saved before the other Bison overseas ace Michal Klejna did succeed in finding the net.
Phantoms man Ales Padelek couldn’t follow suit and the city men were beaten when player coach Ashley Tait tucked away Bison’s final attempt with the aid of a post.
Phantoms are now a point clear of closest challengers Swindon, who beat bottom side Invicta 5-0 last night, and still possess two games in hand.
They return to action tonight (December 16) when completing a hectic run of eight games in 16 days by hosting lowly Milton Keynes Thunder at Planet Ice, 5.30pm.
53.15 Sampford ass: Klejna/Evans
54.04 Norcliffe ass: Wilson
59.11 Cowley (PP) ass: Tait
1.30 White ass: Susters/Norton
3.50 Stepanek (PP) ass: Susters/McEwen
35.39 Pollard ass: R. Ferrara/Norton
BASINGSTOKE – Alex Sampford
PHANTOMS – Martins Susters