FYLDE Flyers went down 8-5 in a pulsating National Ice Hockey League clash against the Solihull Barons at Cleveleys.
A first-minute goal from the visitors shocked the large crowd but the home team battled back valiantly to take a 4-2 lead in their final home match of 2012.
Newly signed netminder Greg Ruxton had made some fine saves only for a knee injury to force him out of the game inside the first 10 minutes.
His replacement, Sam Heyes also made a series of outstanding saves, many from point-blank range, to take the Most Valuable Player award.
Solihull, led by the moustachioed (well, it is Movember) presence of former American star Chris Allen, just had a little too much finishing power for the home side.
Despite some thunderous long-range shooting, the American was unable to find the net.
Fylde were only able to ice 13 skaters due to ongoing unavailability and injuries, but they put on a great show for an enthusiastic crowd at the Sub Zero Arena.
Bobby Caunce netted first for the Flyers, with further goals from Dan Bracegirdle, Dan Fearon and Kurtis Hall as the Flyers led 4-3 at half-time. Fatigue crept in and Barons forged ahead 8-4 before Hall scored a late consolation goal following a period of sustained pressure.
The home team outshot their opponents 68 -61, and only the experience of Hayden Laverick in the Solihull net prevented them taking something from the game.
As in the game at Solihull in September, Flyers took their opponents all the way in a close contest.
Coaching adviser Garry Fearon said: “I was really proud of all the lads. We had two more injuries and ended with a very short bench, but every player put the effort in’
Flyers visit table-topping Nottingham Lions next Sunday at the National Ice Centre and spectators wishing to travel can contact Mick Caunce on 07595393277.