Belfast giants scored twice in quick succession on their home pad halfway through the first period and never looked back on the way to a 2-1 defeat of the Flames.
The Northern Irish gang jumped into a quick lead when Curtis Hamilton opened their account at 9:09 and Ben Lake added to it just 50 seconds later.
With the exception of a pair of minor penalties each in the middle stanza, there was no scoresheet activity and Spectrum’s men began the final 40 minutes still 2 goals adrift.
Inside the last 5 minutes, a couple of Giants penalties put the Flames 5 on 3 powerplay to work and Jesse Craige got his team on the board when his blast cut the deficit in half. An ensuing stretch of 4 on 4 forced the visitors to take Travis Fullerton from the net to still remain up a man for a minute, but in the end the Flames had to see the game out 5 on 5 with the empty cage and couldn’t find a way to pull it level.
“We seem to come out of this building the same way every time, which is being really close, but not quite getting across the finish with the points,” said Paul Dixon.
“If you had told me we would hold them to just 2 goals in their own rink, I would have been confident of coming out with a win.”
“We are right there so it is not a question of being able to compete or not having the horses to make it happen, but we have to find a way to generate more offence on a night like tonight.”
“We get another crack at it tomorrow night against Coventry, and hopefully we can get a few more bounces and make some chances stick.”