Never say die Lightning destroyed rivals Peterborough Phantoms’ aspirations of a shock win at Skydome on Saturday when they came back from a 4-1 first period deficit to win 5-4 after a penalty shoot out.
There was no fairytale revival the next day though when Lightning came away from Altrincham pointless after Manchester Phoenix won 4-1.
When Lightning met Phantoms both outfits were missing players - Lightning had three on Great Britain Under 20 calls with Jordan Hedley, Jordan Cownie and Ben Russell away. Lewis Christie and Connor Goode were injured and Ross Bowers suspended.
Coach Nick Poole drafted in two Coventry Blaze English National League players, Josh Nicklin and Adz Andrews as well as two who have played for MK Thunder, Mark Woolf and Paul Gore.
Things did not look good for Lightning after 20 minutes. A Stan Lascek goal – assisted by Adam Carr and Tom Carlon - after only 14 seconds was cancelled out with a powerplay goal from Jaroslav Cesky after 7mins 45secs.
Phantoms edged in front after 13mins 41secs when Cesky supplied Frantisek Zubek to put the puck beyond goalie Stephen Wall.
And before the interval Phantoms stretched their lead while Lightning were reduced to three skaters following a changing lines on icing the puck penalty was followed by a boarding call on Carlon.
The visitors took full advantage with James Hutchinson firing in after 18mins 50secs.
The gap was not reduced until Grant McPherson set up Adam Carr to score after 35mins 51secs. It proved to be the only goal of the middle period and Lightning still faced a big uphill task in the final 20 minutes.
And with Lightning trying to step up their game Phantoms were still leading by the two goals with 12 minutes remaining.
But then the home side struck twice in a minute to tie the encounter up.
First Lascek made the pass for Carlon to send past goalie Thomas Murdy at 49mins 19secs before Blaz Emersic supplied Lascek to equalise at 49mins 56secs.
Neither side could break through in the final ten minutes, or during five minutes of overtime, so a penalty shoot out was necessary to decide the winner.
In the end Carr made the only successful conversion of three shots a piece for Lightning and Phantoms to seal a 5-4 win.
Bowers returned to the Lightning line up for Sunday’s game which also saw Woolf and Gore on the roster once more - Andrews and Nicklin were otherwise engaged with Blaze.
Phoenix player coach got the puck rolling for his team when he was assisted by James Neil as he found the net on 7mins 16secs.
It took Lightning three powerplay opportunities before they were able to grab an equaliser. Richard Bentham was sent to the sin bin at 19mins 36secs and it took Stan Lascek all of 12 seconds to crash the puck past goalie Stephen Fone for perfectly timed morale booster going into the break.
But there was no reply when Michal Psurny found a gap to beat Wall at 27mins 3secs while his team was on the powerplay - Bowers off the ice for hooking at the time.
That was the only goal of the middle period - giving the visitors optimism that they were still in the game going into the final 20 minutes.
All was to change though after Lukas Zatopek was sin binned for tripping in the 47th minute. With 16 seconds remaining of their powerplay Manchester defenceman Robert Schnabel blasted home from the blue line - the goal timed at 49mins 5secs.
Forty seconds later it was all over as far as Lightning were concerned when Andy McKinney set up Richard Bentham to make it 4-1.
There was to be no way back for a Lightning side that were short on numbers.
On Saturday Lightning are at home to Guildford Flames at 7.30pm before travelling to Sheffield Steeldogs on Sunday.