Manchester Phoenix were given a three goal start as MK Lightning slipped to a 3-2 defeat on Deeside on Sunday evening.
As has become tradition on many occasions this season Lightning did not really get going until after the half way stage. By that time the hosts, with just 15 players, had already found the net on three occasions and Jordan Marr had replaced Dean Skinns in between the pipes.
The defeat – combined with Guildford Flames’ 6-3 success against Swindon Wildcats - meant that the Surrey side have moved above MK in the English Premier League table.
It was Lightning’s only game of the weekend and was their second successive loss after going down 4-2 at home to table topping Basingstoke Bison the previous Wednesday.
Both Grant McPherson and Martti Jarventie dressed for Lightning on Sunday but did not ice which allowed Luc Johnson to continue to partner Adam Carr and Glenn Billing on the third line.
Manchester had the best of the early opportunities with Martin Baranek and Robin Kovar both having attempts on goal before James Griffin drew the first penalty of the game in the ninth minute for tripping.
There was a great deal of Phoenix pressure on the powerplay – Kovar, Michal Satek, Mark Thomas and Stanislav Gron all testing Skinns as Lightning held out.
Michael Farn and Griffin had the only chances when Thomas was called for hooking for Phoenix in the 13th minute.
The first session looked as though it was going to end goalless before Kovar set up Thomas to edge Phoenix in front on 19mins 17secs.
The second period did not start well for the visitors as former Milton Keynes player Jacob Corson-Heron doubled Phoenix’s lead with help from Gron after 25mins 32secs.
Things got even worse when Kovar got a marker from Baranek and Ben Wood’s set up at 30mins 54secs – prompting Skinns’s replacement by Marr.
Only 1min 3secs later Lightning began their fight back with Lewis Hook and Ross Green assisting on Blaz Emersic’s shot past goalie Stephen Fone.
The period ended with another former MK man Ben Russell in the sin bin for interference but the visitors were unable to capitalise.
They did narrow the gap after end of the penalty which just about spread into the third session – Bobby Chamberlain assisted by Jordan Cownie at 41.06.
But that was the last time Lightning were able to light the red lamp with their campaign hindered by quick penalties on Green for interference and Chamberlain for holding reducing them to three skaters a few minutes later.
Leigh Jamieson was sin binned for tripping on 50mins 12secs to reduce further Lightning’s hopes of a comeback which eventually fizzled out with Manchester holding on for a 3-2 win.