Sheffield Steelers got off to a flying start at Belfast Giants tonight - but they could not sustain it for very long against the champions and suffered a third straight loss.
They had forged ahead on the Power Play after Robby Sandrock was penalised for holding.
Defenceman Dustin Kohn scored at 02:33.
Steelers need to win tonight to stave off the attentions of Braehead Clan, who were second in the league behind them.
And that aspiration was aided at 11:07 when Steelers’ skipper Jonathan Phillips scored shorthanded - and then a penalty shot save from Frank Doyle.
But Giants rallied in the second session.
And when Jason Hewitt took a two minute tripping penalty, the Odyssey side halving the deficit through Evan Cheverie.
Giants looked like scoring again as the momentum changed in their favour. And it was 2-2 at 38:50, with Cody Brookwell getting on the scoresheet at 38;50, with a fine shot.
The tide had well and truly turned.
And Calvin Elfring put Belfast ahead with just under 12 minutes remaining.
Steelers were now in freefall and Sandrock added a fourth for the Irish at 53;37.
Gerad Adams men had to take stock: and they showed they were not going to fold any further when Ben O’Connor made it 4-3.
They then withdrew Frank Doyle from goal in favour of an extra skater, but Craig Peacock scored an empty netter with 22 seconds left.
The defeat meant Steelers now drop to second in the table, behind Braehead.
Friday 2nd January 2015
Belfast Giants 5 Sheffield Steelers 3
Fife Flyers 2 Braehead Clan 4
Saturday 3rd January 2015
Belfast Giants v Sheffield Steelers – 7.00pm
Braehead Clan v Dundee Stars – 7.00pm
Nottingham Panthers v Edinburgh Capitals – 7.00pm
Challenge Cup Group A
Hull Stingrays v Cardiff Devils – 6.30pm
Sunday 4th January 2015
Cardiff Devils v Fife Flyers – 6.00pm
Coventry Blaze v Nottingham Panthers – 5.15pm
Edinburgh Capitals v Braehead Clan – 6.00pm