Nottingham Lions regained second place, after a tough 3-2 victory at home against Widnes Wild.
Alan Levers was back to help out between the pipes, Samantha Bolwell remained as back-up.
Stuart Parker returned as Captain and Connor Glossop played his first game since winning the Bronze Medal for the Great Britain under 20’s, during the recent World Championships in France.
Lions also welcomed Elliot Perrin, Jake Fisher and Kieran Raynor back. Rob Perks, also back from missing the game in Hull. Missing from this game were Connor McNaughton and Ben Wilson.
It was Widnes that were quicker out of the blocks in the first period, and soon drew a hooking penalty out of Stuart Parker after thirty seconds. From the resulting power-play, Wild took the lead. Michael Fico being set up back door by Player Coach Scott McKenzie and Captain Shaun Dippnall.
Lions regrouped tying the game with their own power-play goal five minutes later. With Pavel Vales sitting for interference, Greg Ruxton made a pad save from Stu Parker allowing Ondrej Pniok to get the rebound from a tight angle.
The following five minutes of all action end-to-end play, Lions took the lead. Jamie Hovell as he intercepted the puck, carried it through the neutral zone, then releasing an unstoppable shot from just inside the blue-line.
Former Lion, Lee Kemp got sent for cross-checking in the twelve minute. Kieran Raynor, tripping on the nineteen-minute mark, thirty seconds later Widnes were caught sending out an extra man, so the session ended with both teams reduced to four men.
Although an exciting end-to-end middle session, the only entries on the score-sheet were penalties, first, Pavel Vales for boarding, fourteen seconds into the period. Then on the mid-way point, Elliot Perrin and Shaun Cassidy went to ground with Perrin seen as the aggressor was given a two plus two roughing penalty, while Widnes when unpenalised. Wild did have Alan Levers beat with a slap-shot in the thirty-six minute, but it hit the post.
A minute-eleven into the third period, Kieran Strangeway went for hooking, but the Wild survived without conceding, until the forty-sixth minute, Lions broke the deadlock with their third goal. Jordan Wright threw the puck on net and it was Slav Kasprzak first to react to a loose puck, forcing it up and over the goaltenders shoulder, dropping into the back of the net..
Widnes began laying siege to the Lions net, but fell into penalty trouble, with George Crawshaw sent for tripping in the fifty-second minute, joined by a colleague of netminder Greg Ruxton, who was caught hooking thirty seconds later. Nottingham called their time out. Lions were unable to force a fourth.
Now the Lions attracted attention from the Referee, with Slav Kasprzak, tripping and Ondrej Pniok sent within seconds, also for tripping in the fifty-sixth minute.
Widnes pulled a goal back during the two-man advantage, Scott McKenzie finding the smallest gap over Levers shoulder into the net, assisted by Geoff Wigglesworth.
The fifty-eighth minute saw Wild call their time-out, where they decided to withdraw the netminder. The man advantage failed to reap reward, despite constant pressure up to the final hooter.
Matt Bradbury spoke to nottinghamlions.co.uk after the game "It was a great team performance against the Wild. It was a tight game and could have gone either way. For us it was a huge character win as we managed to grind out the two points which is all that matters."
"Alan Levers was outstanding and clearly deserved his man of the man award as he delivered an outstanding display."
Lions are next in action on Sunday night at the National Ice Centre against league leaders the Deeside Dragons, Face off is 7.30pm.