The Stena Line Belfast Giants lost out to the Braehead Clan with a late powerplay goal in Glasgow on Boxing Day.
Cameron Burt struck with just over six minutes remaining after the Giants had mounted a comeback from 2-0 down following the opening period.
The Giants were without Stephen Murphy, Dustin Johner and Mark Garside through injury.
In spite of the loss, which was the first in seven games, the Giants remain in second place with 37 points from 28 games - four points behind the Cardiff Devils with 41 points from 27 games.
Two first period goals from the hosts gave the Braehead Clan a commanding lead after the opening 20 minutes.
Tyler Shattock broke the deadlock for the Braehead the Clan at 7:43, assisted by Adam Brace and Mike Embach.
The Giants agonisingly conceded their second of the game with one second remaining in the first period as Tyler Scofield doubled the home side’s lead at 19:59, assisted by Brendan Brooke and Ryan Nie.
The Giants, cheered on by a large travelling contingent, fought back in the middle period and in the last minute, they got their reward. It was John Kurtz who netted the Belfast side’s first goal of the game, assisted by Spiro Goulakos and Matt Towe, at 39:14.
The Giants dominated the opening stages of the final period and Jonathan Ferland netted early on. Ferland grabbed the equalising goal at 45:21, assisted by John Kurtz.
The Clan recovered from losing their two goal advantage with Cameron Burt edging the home side in front with a powerplay goal at 52:38.