The Belfast Giants had their five-game winning streak snapped on Sunday night as they lost 2-1 at the hands of the Sheffield Steelers and their former coach Doug Christiansen.
Playing without the suspended Adam Keefe and injured Chris Higgins the Giants took an early lead but conceded late on to lose but did maintain first place in the Elite League standings although, with the exception of Dundee, all their main title rivals – Nottingham, Sheffield and Coventry – all have games in hand.
Despite an early penalty to Gareth Roberts the Giants actually took the lead shorthanded when Jeff Mason assisted on Darryl Lloyd’s first goal of the season.
However Stefan Meyer equalized for the Steelers at 18:44 to make the score 1-1 at the end of the first period.
The Giants had two big opportunities to retake the lead in the middle session as they were awarded two penalty shots but Steelers netminder Frank Doyle first denied Jeffrey Szwez and then Roberts to send the game to the final twenty minutes still tied up.
Both sides had multiple powerplay chances with the Giants going 0-for-4 and the Steelers 0-for-8 but at 54:10 the home side got what would turn out to be the game winning goal as Jonathan Phillips beat Stephen Murphy.
The Giants will regroup this week with a huge league game at home at the Odyssey Arena on Friday night against the Nottingham Panthers.