HULL Stingrays endured a bitterly frustrating weekend after drawing another Elite League blank.
Pick of the bunch came on Saturday at home to league leaders Belfast Giants who came into Hull on the back of a seven-game win streak.
Powerplay goals from Jason Silverthorn, (2) and Derek Campbell saw Stingrays 3-1 up after 25 minutes but it was all square at the midway point of the second after Brock McBride added his second of the night before Benoit Doucet made it 3-3 at 31.16.
The turning point in the game came with 10 minutes remaining when Campbell was assessed a 10-minute misconduct for abuse of official and a match penalty for excessive roughness.
Stingrays desperately defended the resulting powerplay but, as expected, the Giants eventually made the most of their five-minute man advantage with 41 seconds remaining, defenceman Jeff Mason firing home for the game-winning goal at 54.09 to wrap up a win which was certainly harsh on the home side.
With Campbell serving his match penalty, Sunday night saw Hull make the long trip to Dundee Stars, never the happiest of hunting grounds last season with a defeat on every occasion.
The decision to leave earlier than usual looked to be paying dividends when Jereme Tendler’s 38th-minute strike cancelled out Alan Mazur’s 12th minute opener.
But, once again the result seemed to hinge on a critical moment, this time after Hull defenceman Dmitry Rodin was handed a game misconduct for kneeing at the end of the second period.
The home side took advantage on the powerplay with player-coach Dan Ceman restoring his side’s lead at 43.36 with Jarrett Konkle making the points safe at 3-1 two-and-a-half minutes later.
It marked an eighth league defeat of the season for the visitors - still looking for a win on the road and replacing Dundee in eighth spot.
While clearly frustrated, Cloutier was pleased with the effort shown from his players, their task made much harder by Rodin’s ejection and the further loss of former Dundee forward Tristan Harper.
“It was a 1-1 game and then Dmitry got thrown out. Harper also got hurt so that left us with 12 guys,” said Cloutier.
“We had to play different players in different situations. Bouch (goaltender Christian Boucher) played really well and we battled to the end.
“It is frustrating but it isn’t all that bad, we have been playing some good hockey.”
RESULTS - Elite League: Cardiff Devils 2 Sheffield Steelers 3 (SO), Coventry Blaze 2 Belfast Giants 5, Dundee Stars 3 Hull Stingrays 1, Nottingham Panthers 3 Braehead Clan 0.
Challenge Cup, Group A: Edinburgh Capitals 8 Fife Flyers 3.
Saturday - Elite League: Fife Flyers 2 Cardiff Devils 4, Hull Stingrays 3 Belfast Giants 4, Nottingham Panthers 7 Edinburgh Capitals 3,
Challenge Cup, Group B: Sheffield Steelers 2 Coventry Blaze 2.