The champions, Belfast Giants, and last season's Grand Slam winners, Sheffield Steelers, shared a 5-5 thriller at the House of Steel on Sunday.
Giants seemed to be cruising to a sixth successive win over the Steelers when Sean Berens, Jeff Hoad and Paxton Schulte, with a powerplay goal, put them 3-0 up inside 14 minutes.
However, Steelers staged a remarkable recovery, with Brent Bobyck and a Paul Kruse double hauling them level. Chris Brant then claimed his first goal for the club before Giants went back in front through Rob Stewart, from another powerplay, and Curt Bowen. Chris Lipsett notched his 22nd of the season to earn a tie and stretch the Steelers' unbeaten run to seven.
Bracknell Bees' misery continued as they slipped to a 4-2 home defeat against the Nottingham Panthers. Bees, now without a win for nine games, fell behind after just 18 seconds through Ashley Tait before Jimmy Drolet added a second.
Steve O'Rourke pulled one back on the powerplay, but Steve Moria claimed his 200th point with an assist on Lee Jinman's own powerplay marker to restore Panthers' two-goal lead. Bees refused to give in, and Mark Turner bagged another on the powerplay. However, Patrik Wallenburg's goal was the final sting in the tail.
The netminder Mike Torchia made 46 saves to earn Manchester Storm a 2-2 draw against London Knights at the Docklands Arena. London, looking for their first win in 11 games, were twice a goal ahead, but Trevor Gallant won a point for Storm.Reuse content