HULL STINGRAYS saw their good work in Whitley Bay on Monday cancelled out when they lost 3-2 in overtime at home to bottom club Newcastle Vipers in the Elite League.
Sylvain Cloutier's side had returned from the North East having beaten the Vipers 7-4, but Kyle Sibley's strike with less than a minute remaining in the added-on session at Hull Arena saw the visitors claim the extra point on Tuesday night.
Andrew Coburn had twice put Stingrays ahead in the game, first finding a way past Charlie Effinger in the third minute of the game, only for Dale Mahovsky to level seven minutes later.
Canadian centre Coburn netted his ninth goal of the campaign at 25.09, but the Vipers levelled once again through leading scorer Patrik Forsbacka at 30.53.
That is how it stayed until defenceman Sibley fired past Christian Boucher in the Hull goal.
Stingrays are back in action again on Wednesday night (7pm) when Dundee Stars visit Hull Arena, although Cloutier is hoping his players show more tenacity than they did in their second game in as many nights against the Vipers.
"It was very disappointing," said Cloutier. "We took them too lightly. We outplayed them la(on Monday) and the guys felt we could come in, skate around and it would be easy.
"It is all about hard work. You have to go out there and compete. It is a missed chance to get two points. We have been playing really well at home but that is the worst we have played for a long time."
Dundee have inflicted two defeats on Hull on their own ice and, with other recent victories, are now only five points behind seventh-placed Stingrays, although they have played six games more.
Cloutier hopes to put further distance between the two teams after Wednesday night's showdown.
"We owe Dundee as they have taken it to us twice up there," added Cloutier. "We need to compete against them because they have three lines which work hard.
"They made some changes and improved their hockey team but if we can pick up two points it would move us further away from them and make life a little bit easier."
Cardiff Devils edged ahead of Sheffield Steelers into second place and enhanced their own title bid by hammering leaders Belfast Giants 4-1 at the Odyssey Arena, closing the gap at the top to three points with four games in hand on Doug Christiansen's side.
Steelers take on Coventry Blaze at Sheffield Arena on Thursday night (7.30pm).
SHEFFIELD STEELDOGS will go into Thursday night's eagerly-awaited Roses derby with Manchester Phoenix buoyed by a run of three wins in four games.
Matt Darlow's side seem to have turned a corner in the EPL following the arrival of former Newcastle Vipers and Coventry Blaze forward Andre Payette.
The one setback came in a re-arranged game at Manchester on December 19, which saw Sheffield go down 7-0 with Payette picking up a match ban, now served.