IN the end it was a comfortable margin of victory, but Sheffield Steelers came off the ice on Saturday night knowing they had been given a serious test by Coventry Blaze.
Twice the Steelers got themselves ahead, twice Danny Stewart's team pegged them back - both goals coming from former Steelers' forward Luke Ferrara.
But, eventually, when Robert Dowd pinged in his own rebound at 45.39, there was to be no way back for the visitors, although they came within inches of doing so for a third time - twice hitting the post before the Steelers eventually made the game safe
That came when, with a little over two minutes remaining, defenceman Joonas Ronnberg smacked in a powerplay goal from the left wing with Blaze netminder Kevin Nastiuk scrambling back across his crease. Just over a minute later, captain Jonathan Phillips added an empty net strike from inside his own zone.
Earlier, Matt Marquardt forced the puck home on the powerplay in front of the net against his former club to give the hosts a seventh-minute lead, although the Blaze were level within four minutes through Ferrara, who has settled into life quickly at Coventry since Steelers' head coach Paul Thompson decided - with some regret - to release him in the summer.
Steelers got their noses in front again early in the second after Dowd's initial shot was saved by Nastiuk with the puck falling kindly to line-mate Andreas Valdix, who lifted the rebound into the roof of the net.
But the Blaze refused to lie down, Ben Lake in particular proving a tricky customer, and they actually outshot their hosts over the first 40 minutes 26-18, a statistic which alone ensured they went in after the second period level.
A bad line change left Ferrara bearing down on former team-mate Ervins Mustukovs in the Steelers goal only for Mark Matheson to be adjudged to have hauled him back, resulting in a penalty shot.
Up stepped Ferrara and, with what must have been an enormous amount of pressure on him, he dispatched the puck cleanly to level matters.