Sheffield Steelers 2 Cardiff Devils 3: Work in progress status highlighted by third straight defeat
After 10 games in League and Cup action, Sheffield Steelers remain a work very much in progress.
They ended the weekend empty-handed and have a new injury problem.
Defenceman Jonas Liwing suffered an arm injury and the team is suddenly finding it hard to score at the other end.
Steelers have now won five and lost five - not the neutral return fans had been looking for from their new team.
They have lost their last three outings.
While Steelers had conceded five in defeat at Manchester Storm on Saturday, Devils were putting the same amount past Coventry Blaze.
Yet there was nothing between the sides in the first 20 minutes on Sunday.
It was certainly a painful first period for Aaron Fox's men. After just 53 seconds Liwing skated off holding his right arm.
He could be out for a while - which increases the pressure on recruitment, given Aaron Johnson's broken finger.
John Armstrong was hit by a puck in the face, Ben O'Connor suffered a high stick to the head and Robert Dowd suffered a facial injury.
Dowd and Michael Davies (twice) had efforts on Ben Bowns but at the other end Tomas Duba, who survived some early jitters, saved well from Gleason Fournier and Charles Linglet.
Eight minutes into a topsy-turvy middle session, Cardiff seized the initiative, a Josh Batch rebound falling for Joey Haddad to score at 28;36.
A perceived misjustice helped Sheffield claw back, though.
Nikola Lemtyugov was surprisingly penalised for diving and the enraged home fans upped the atmosphere - and they were off their seats again when Marc-Olivier Vallerand picked Fournier's pocket, broke clear, and shot just under the bar for 1-1 at 32;59.
It was a short-handed goal and needed great skill and guts to execute.
Vallerand had led the way for others to follow in the final phase.
But a four-on-four cameo saw Devils take the lead again, Duba claimed Haddad had interfered with play in his crease, but Sam Jardine's effort stood.
For just three minutes, only.
Lemtyugov picked a hell of a time to score his first for the club, finishing off a move created by Armstrong.
Aaron Brocklehurst's penalty for illegal equipment though effectively handed Devils' their third, Linglet scoring in the last second of the power play.