Sheffield Steelers 3-4 Coventry Blaze
Sheffield Steelers squandered the opportunity to storm five points clear at the top of the EIHL table tonight.
A 0-2 third period loss handed the points to Coventry, although Steelers remain top of the pile.
Coventry had been without suspended duo David Broll and David Clements. And their disciplinary issues arose again when Janne Laakkonen and Mathew Thompson both found themselves sitting in the Sheffield penalty box.
Marco Vallerand's third wrist shot on goalie C.J. Motte - who had arrived with the best goals-against average in the EIHL - hit the net at 5:21.
The match was 11 minutes old before Blaze despatched a meaningful shot on Barry Brust.
That changed when Blaze had their own five-on-three power play at 13:29.
Brust's blocker sent one Luke Ferrara effort over the plexi glass and the penalty killing units blanked the oncoming waves of attacks.
But three seconds after Coventry's power play had ended they levelled through ex Steeler Ferrara.
It was a period of power play action at both ends. And Vallerand succeeded for a second time to make it 2-1 at 16:58.
It was a blow for Danny Stewart's team who had made up for a limp start.
But their physicality continued to attract punishment.
Dane Gibson was ejected for spearing Brendan Connolly (in a uniquely sensitive area) and Laakkonen's treatment of Jonathan Phillips on the ice earned his side another bout of power play pressure.
It didn't faze them and they went on to equalise for a second time. With Brust called for interference, Ferrara scored his second of the night.
At 38:22, a simple tap-in for Matias Sointu again seemingly put Sheffield in the driving seat.
But it was the home side that was the focus of refereeing displeasure in the third period.
Brust earned a second call, this time for tripping and Janne Kivilahti made it 3-3.
Then Connolly's temper snapped behind the opposition goal; his roughing penalty being scored on by Ryan Penny at 43:17.
So Coventry were ahead for the first time, something most of the 5,484 fans had not expected.
And they stayed there.
The visitors efficiently battened down the hatches as coach Aaron Fox pulled off his goalie in favour of the extra attacker, to no avail.
Steelers are back in action at Manchester Storm on Friday night, in the Challenge Cup.