Superleague rivals Newcastle Cobras led 3-0 with 20 minutes to play, after Randy Smith and Rick Brebant had added to Jamie Pegg's first-period opener. But Mike Morin and Brad Turner gave Manchester hope before Dale Jago netted the game-tying goal with less than five minutes left on the clock at the Nynex Arena.
The other two teams to qualify from group A with Manchester and Newcastle had decent wins over the National League teams. Ayr Scottish Eagles beat Telford Tigers 7-1, with Sam Groleau's hat-trick the highlight. Sheffield Steelers, yet to hit top gear this season, were far too good for Paisley Pirates, winning 16-2 in Scotland.
In group B's top game, Cardiff Devils kept the heat on leaders Nottingham Panthers by winning in Wales 3-2. Ken Hodge, Kip Noble and Frank Evans netted to put Cardiff in control, but when Jamie Leach added to Marty Dallman's effort 13 seconds from time, it looked dicey for the Devils.
Bracknell Bees gave themselves hope of pipping Thames Valley rivals and fellow qualifiers Basingstoke Bison for third spot, beating Peterborough Pirates 6-2.Reuse content