Sheffield Steelers lost a key player within six minutes of tonight's clash with Belfast Giants - and were never at the races after that.
The 5-1 loss saw them slip to third.
And that could become fifth if Fife Flyers and Guildford Flames both win their games on Sunday night.
On Saturday, both teams were short of bodies after the previous night's rough and tumble - Zack Fitzgerald and Spiro Goulakos were missing due to suspensions.
And Andreas Jamtin- a feisty performer on their previous meeting - was handed a 5 + game for cross checking at 5.55, this evening in Northern Ireland.
That penalty gave Giants the boost they needed after losing 3-2 the night before and Darcy Murphy scored at 9:51.
Just 21 seconds later David Rutherford made it 2-0 for Belfast.
It started to look messy for Steelers as Jonathan Ferland added a third.
Three Canadians, three goals in three minutes.
In the second session, Colin Shields, Jeff Mason and John Kurtz put more pressure on Ervins Mustukovs in Sheffield's net.
The punishment continued in the second session, when Rutherford bagged his second.
Matt Marquart and Ben O'Connor, who hit the pipework, tried to mount a revival at the other end.
Eric Neiley, on a breakaway was denied by Belfast goalie Jackson Whistle.
What was working the night before, was not working now.
However, Steelers did get on the scoresheet when d-man Ben O'Connor banged home a spectacular strike at 47:14.
It was too little too late and Giants hit a fifth through Colin Shields at 58;54.
The win ensures Belfast regained their two points advantage, complete with game in hand, over Steelers.
Saturday 6th January
Belfast Giants 5 Sheffield Steelers 1
Dundee Stars 7 Edinburgh Capitals 4
Fife Flyers 3 Braehead Clan 2 (After Overtime)
Guildford Flames 3 Cardiff Devils 2 (After Overtime)
Milton Keynes Lightning 3 Coventry Blaze 1
Nottingham Panthers 4 Manchester Storm 3 (After Overtime)
Sunday 7th January
Braehead Clan v Fife Flyers - 6.00pm
Cardiff Devils v Nottingham Panthers - 6.00pm
Coventry Blaze v Milton Keynes Lightning - 5.15pm
Edinburgh Capitals v Dundee Stars - 6.00pm
Manchester Storm v Guildford Flames - 5.30pm