Fife Flyers crashed to the bottom of the table for the first time this season with defeat in Coventry last night.
The team went down 4-1 to Blaze despite opening the scoring.
That result, allied to victory for Dundee Stars, pushed the team into tenth, and last place – and the club is now mired in a three-way battle to make the EIHL play-offs.
But the race is so tight that a win tonight and a Stars loss would see them bounce back to eighth.
It makes this evening’s home game against Manchester Storm – the third team in the equation – critical.
Flyers are on a poor run on form with just two wins in 13 starts since the beginning of December – seven straight losses, including one in overtime.
They got off to a good start in Coventry despite arriving late and the face-off being delayed.
You may also be interested in:
Danick Gauthier gave them a fourth minute lead, but Blaze grabbed a key powerplay equaliser through Luke Ferrera at 18:24 to send the teams into the first break on level pegging.
The damage then came with two goals in little more than 30 seconds to give the Midlanders’ a 3-1 lead, and leave Fife, once again, chasing a hockey game.
Ferrera added his second on the power play, before Janni Lakkhonen rang the red light.
Flyers found themselves back in the position of pulling netminder Adam Morrison in a bid to grab a lifeline only to concede an empty net goal to Ross Venus 90 seconds from time.
Todd Dutiaume, head coach, now faces the difficult task of getting the team back on track for the visit of Manchester, well aware the fans will be expecting a much better performance.
“It’s easy to sum up our season has gone so far,” he said. “We start off with engagement levels fine, but one bad thing happens and we appear to be so mentally frail we can’t recover.
“By time we give ourselves a shake and get back into the hockey game it’s too late and we end up pulling our netminder, and we know how that goes.
“Tonight was another night we just couldn’t string 60 minutes of hockey together.”