Sheffield Steelers lost ground against title and Conference rivals Cardiff Devils again, last night, slipping to fourth place in the table.
Steelers, who had dropped to third in the Elite League division after Nottingham Panthers had beaten Guildford Flames 2-1 (OT) on Friday night, went behind early in south Wales.
Andrew Hotham (assisted Matt Pope, Bryce Reddick) hit the back of Steelers' net at 0:55.
Steelers, who had shut out Andrew Lord's side 4-0 at Sheffield Arena on October 21, returned fire when Andreas Valdix (assists Levi Nelson, Zack Fitzgerald) levelled at 4:45.
But the home side brought the home crowd to their feet when Canadian Hotham notched his second of the night, on the Power Play, from Drew Paris and Sean Bentivoglio 11:07.
Matt Pope (from Layne Ulmer, Joey Martin) deepened Steelers problems with another PP goal at 16:47.
Sheffield - with Colton Fretter serving his fourth of six games suspension - were in trouble as the first period ran out.
Drew Paris (Interference),and Mathieu Roy (High Sticking) took penalties but neither side could benefit in a barren middle 20 minutes.
Steelers pressed to the end of the final session, but Ben Bowns bounced away the shots that came his way.
Ervins Mustukovs was pulled in the final moments and d-man Scott Aarssen banged home a goal at 59.29.
But time ran out - two goals at the start and end of the game not enough to secure a point or two.
Steelers' results against Conference rivals has been a horror show this year - and this latest reverse hasn't helped, with the club now sitting in an unbecoming fourth place.
They need more firepower - and reinforcements at the back, especially with an injury to Ben O'Connor, keeping him out of last night's game.
Saturday 4th November
Cardiff Devils 3 Sheffield Steelers 2
Dundee Stars 5 Manchester Storm 4 (After Shootout)
Edinburgh Capitals 2 Braehead Clan 5
Guildford Flames 1 Coventry Blaze 4
Milton Keynes Lightning 3 Nottingham Panthers 5
Elite League/Challenge Cup Group B
Fife Flyers 2 Belfast Giants 4
Coventry Blaze v Milton Keynes Lightning - 5.15pm