There was not much to choose between Storm and Ayr Scottish Eagles, but the hosts edged the contest 4-3 to continue their impressive return to form after a sluggish start to the campaign.
Storm took the first-period honours courtesy of Rick Brebant's powerplay strike, and Kevin Hoffman doubled the lead early in the second session.
Mark Woolf and Dino Bauba brought Ayr back into it, only for Jeff Jablonski to restore Manchester's lead within nine seconds. But Sam Groleau tied the scores, and Ryan Kummu's 42nd-minute strike gave Ayr the lead for the first time.
Nottingham Panthers, Ayr's B&H Cup final opponents, looked like they were suffering from their midweek exertions as they trailed bottom club Newcastle Riverkings 2-0 on their own Lower Parliament Street ice.
Paul Dixon and Jamie Black put Riverkings in control, but depleted Nottingham hit back to win 4-2 and cut Ayr's lead at the top to two points. Greg Hadden scored twice and was only denied a hat-trick by Wayne Cowley's penalty save, with Paul Adey and Jamie Leach also on the mark for Mike Blaisdell's side.
Panthers were without four injured players and the suspended Corey Beaulieu, and their problems increased when they lost Simon Hunt, who suffered a recurrence of a hand injury, during the game.
Bracknell Bees, Jim Fuy-archuk's former club, came from behind to beat his current charges, London Knights, 4-3.
Cory Lyons, with two goals, and Bruce Eakin had London 3-1 up with less than 15 minutes to play at the London Arena. But Chris Brant reduced the deficit and Barry McKinlay's second goal, at 50min 52sec, took the game into overtime.
Just 40 seconds into the sudden-death period, Brant's second of the night won it for Bees.Reuse content