HULL PIRATES snatched what could prove to be a crucial lifeline in their Autumn Cup semi-final against Basingstoke Bison - giving them hope for the second leg in 10 days time.
Trailing 4-2 with with just under 12 minutes remaining, player-coach Jason Hewitt struck a blow on the power play to ensure the visitors only returned home to East Yorkshire trailing by the odd-goal in seven, with Doug Sheppard's team due to visit Hull Arena on Wednesday, February 7.
Hull got themselves an early lead on Friday night in Hampshire when Bobby Chamberlain scored on the power play. But Hewitt's team found themselves 3-1 adrift at the break after the hosts roared back with strikes from Daniel Scott, Tomas Karpov and captain Aaron Connolly.
Chamberlain scored the only goal of the second period at 35.31 to make it a one-goal game again, although Bison restored their two-goal advantage through Roman Malinik in the 44th minute before Hewitt struck to leave little between the two sides ahead of the second leg.
Hull return to league action on Saturday night when they host bottom club Dragons, a team they have put 29 goals past in the two previous meetings between the sides, one encounter seeing the Pirates romp to a 20-3 victory on home ice back November.
Tomorrow sees Hewitt and his team head to the West Midlands to take on sixth-placed Solihull Barons.
Leaders Sheffield Steeldogs face a serious test of their North One Moralee title credentials when they host third-placed Telford Tigers.
Ben Morgan's team are six points clear of Saturday night's visitors, who were beaten 3-2 on their last visit to Sheffield back in November when the Steeldogs prevailed through an Adrian Palak double and a James Spurr strike.
Defeat for the South Yorkshire club and a win - as expected for Hull - would see the Pirates close the gap to just one point ahead of Sheffield's trip to second-bottom Nottingham Lions on Sunday.