Belfast Giants secured success over Coventry Blaze last night to force a final-weekend showdown in pursuit of the Elite League title.
Pat Dwyer’s first-period treble towards the 7-2 victory has left Stena Line Giants sitting two points behind Cardiff Devils with two games left on the schedule.
Back-to-back home tests over tomorrow and Saturday - against Fife Flyers and Dundee Stars respectively - will offer a thrilling finale at The SSE Arena in front of the passionate Belfast backing.
On a key night for Darcy Murphy and Colin Shields, Giants were dominant early on and Dwyer opened the scoring then doubled his tally before Jonathan Boxill gave the visitors a three-goal boost.
Dwyer made it hat-trick joy before Jonathan Ferland slotted home to spark off the second-period scoring.
Coventry pulled one back through Alex Nikiforuk before Ben Lake shot home.
The Blaze gambled late in the game and, with the netminder pulled for the extra outskater, Murphy fired in his record-breaking 46th goal of the campaign.
Shields rounded off the scoring just over 24 hours after announcing his retirement.