The Sydney Bears finally won the battle of the penalty box but lost in the scoreboard, going down 4-1 to the Perth Thunder at Sydney Ice Arena.
Stuart Stefan opened the scoring for the Thunder after just three minutes, with Bears fans having visions of last week’s disappointing roadtrip to Melbourne being repated.
However, that was it for the scoring in the first period, as the Bears locked the puck out of their own zone for long periods.
The Bears thought they had equalised at 11:09 in the second, only to have the goal waved off after the officials consulted with each other extensively.
Sadly for the Bears, Perth immediately capitalised with two goals inside the next 80 seconds to blow the score out to 3-0.
Although deflated, the Bears continued to play a highly disciplined, yet physical game and, with Perth taking their second penalty of the third period, the Bears finally found a way through, Lee Turner tucking away at 15:53 on the powerplay to give Sydney an outside at snatching a result.
However, coincidental penalties to Branden Stobbs and Jim Stefan saw 4 on 4 action for all but the last 18 seconds and, with Stobbs preparing to return to the action, Thunder’s Jordan Cox put away an empty netter to secure the win for Perth.
With a traffic incident seeing the Sunday game against Adelaide postponed, the Bears will travel to the city of churches next weekend, aiming to keep their slim finals chances alive.