It hasn’t happened in the first 20 games of the Elite League season but on Tuesday night the Belfast Giants were outplayed by the defending champions, Nottingham Panthers, losing 8-3 at the National Ice Centre.
Paul Adey’s side had moved five points clear at the top of the standings. But the Panthers turned up, seized control of the game early on and the Giants were never able to get back on level terms.
Two goals from Craig Peacock and one from Calvin Elfring was all the Giants could muster against a free-scoring Panthers side who are now only seven points behind the Giants and with three games in hand.
It was a humiliating loss for the Giants, the only crumb of comfort is that their month on the road is now over and beginning on Saturday night against the Edinburgh Capitals they’ll have nine of their next eleven games at the Odyssey Arena over the holiday period.
As the season heads into its busiest month the Giants will be hoping to put Tuesday night’s defeat behind them.