Blackburn Eagles fell to a double defeat at the weekend as Altrincham Aces and Nottingham Lions both came out on top against the already crowned 16/17 Laidler Conference Champions.
The fifth placed Aces got their first win of the season over the Eagles at Blackburn Ice Arena, running out 3-2 winners thanks to a goal from John Murray and a double from Jake Nurse that brought the Aces back from 2-1 down after Christopher Jones and Steven Hetherington put the home side ahead.
The Eagles seemed to have the better of the game, racking up 61 shots compared to the Ace’s 35 efforts on goal, but the visitors had the clinical edge that was needed in this one and victory went their way as the fight for the final play-off spot intensifies.
This defeat ended the league champion’s unbeaten run of 12 games which dated back to early December and included 10 wins, a period that is no doubt crucial to their success this season.
Nottingham Lions welcomed Blackburn Eagles to the National Ice Centre no more than 24 hours after their defeat to the Aces but it was only to be the same story again as the Lions ran out 3-1 winners to move up to fourth in the league.
The home side romped to a 3-0 lead by the end of the second period as Ben Wood, Ondrej Pniok and Daniel Hazeldine all got their name on the score sheet.
As in the Ace’s defeat, the Eagles had more shots in the game, 47 compared to the Lion’s 30 but again, that clinical edge was missing for them.
Chris Arnone grabbed a consolation for the Eagles with three minutes left but it was simply too little too late.
This leaves the league champions with just one game left this season, which comes at Blackburn Ice Arena against Coventry Blaze on 2 April.