SHEFFIELD Steelers’ title hopes were severely dented with a 2-1 upset at Braehead Clan.
Player-coach Drew Bannister scored the winner in the first minute of the third period leaving Sheffield’s pursuit of the league’s top spot out of their hands.
Sheffield have three games in hand over leaders Belfast Giants - but are now seven points adrift.
Colt King’s opening goal (19:50) was never going to be enough against a side Ryan Finnerty believes is one of the best in the championship.
The Scots got back on level terms early in the second period as Adam Walker converted at 22.56.
Then Clan’s Bannister did enough to ensure victory.
Afterwards, Steelers’ coach Ryan Finnerty struck a positive note.
“Crazy thing was that we played well, we created but just didn’t take advantage
“Sure we would have rather have won but the reality is that very little has changed. We were always going to have to split the series in Belfast in two weeks time and beat the Giants at home, if we do that we are still in the driving seat
“Anyone who thinks out title hopes have gone doesn’t know us, doesn’t realise the character we have here. We are far from out of it
See more on this in Saturday’s Star - and a full weekend wrap-up in Monday’s edition.