MK Lightning endured double disappointment at the weekend as they lost to a goal in the last 30 seconds on Saturday and then were defeated on penalty shots 24 hours later.
Peterborough Phantoms scored with 27.5 seconds to go at MK Arena on Saturday to take the points in a 4-3 win after Lightning had fought back from a three goal deficit in the first period.
At Altrincham the next day there was little to choose between Manchester Phoenix and Nick Poole’s men as they traded goals in a game which ended 2-2 after regulation time and then failed to score in overtime.
The penalty shoot-out was as tense with both sides missing their first attempts before scoring the next two. Goalie Stephen Wall saved the next two Manchester attempts but both Adam Carr and Stan Lascek missed out. Phoenix eventually grabbed maximum points when their veteran player coach Tony Hand scored and Leigh Jamieson missed - Lightning picking up a point for their troubles.
Lightning could have no complaints in the manner they lost out to Phantoms - giving themselves a big headache with one of their worst opening periods for a long time.
They were two goals behind in just over nine minutes. A swift time out failed to wake them up and Peterborough extended the lead to three in the 13th minute.
Michael Farn was penalised for interference on netminder Janis Auzins to give Phantoms the first powerplay from which they scored with Marc Levers supplying defenceman Edgars Apelis for a blue line blast which beat goalie Jordan Hedley on 6mins exactly.
Luke Ferrara then put Levers free on the right wing for goal two at 9mins 40secs.
Poole called a time out to allow the team to regroup but it had little effect as former Lightning defenceman Tom Norton supplied Luke Ferrara for the third goal at 13mins 6secs - Auzins getting the further assist to show how quickly the puck was played from defence to goal.
Stern words were obviously said in the home dressing room at the break as a different Lightning took the ice at the start of the second period - Leigh Jamieson’s shot hitting the outside of the pipework in the first 40 seconds before Adam Carr and Milan Kostourek both had the netminder under pressure without result.
It was not until James Hutchinson was given a delay of the game penalty for smashing the puck out of play that Lightning got their chance to cut the deficit with Lascek supplying Kostourek for a close range powerplay goal on 32mins 40secs.
However no further goals saw Lightning still trailing 3-1 at the second intermission.
Lightning needed an early third session goal to have a real chance of turning the scoreline round. In the event they had to wait until 50mins 6secs before Lascek was again the provider for Kostourek with a superb pass. Kostourek dummied the goalie before slotting in to set up a tense finale.
Two minutes 18secs later it was all square when Carr set up Lascek for a top shelf shot which gave Auzins no chance.
Just as the game looked as though it was heading into overtime Phantoms clinched the game through a James Ferrara goal squeezed in at the right pipe - 27.5 seconds left on the clock.
Lightning withdrew Hedley for the extra skater but it was too late.
At Manchester it was Lightning who scored first when Lewis Hook opened their account from Jordan Cownie’s set up at 6mins 23secs.
But the hosts were back on terms after 14mins 59secs when former Lightning player Jacob Heron was provider for Jack Watkins.
That’s the way the score stayed until the third period when it was again Lightning who went ahead - this time Grant McPherson was the supplier for Jamieson at 45mins 34secs.
Phoenix were not beaten though and they came back at 54mins 2secs with a Robin Kovar strike, assisted by Johan Burlin, to send the game into overtime and then penalty shots.