Dundee CCS Stars coach Jeff Hutchins blasted match officials after his side lost 4-2 to Elite League leaders Belfast Giants at Dundee Ice Arena last night.
It was a game Stars controlled for a large part but some controversial decisions from referee Alan Craig effectively handed the game to Giants.
It was a fairly even first period, with both teams pressing for the opener and it took until the latter stages of the stanza for the first goal.
Stars’ Jeff Hutchins was given a two-minute penalty for holding and, from the resultant powerplay, Giants took the lead through Dustin Whitecotton with eight seconds remaining until the break.
Eighteen seconds after the re-start, Stars were level when Billy Bagron netted after fine work from Nico Sacchetti and Rory Rawlyk.
On 26 minutes, the home side took the lead when Bagron netted his and Dundee’s second goal, with an assist from Tysen Dowzak.
Another penalty cost the Taysiders dear as Jeffrey Szwez levelled on the powerplay after 15 minutes when Paul Swindlehurst picked up a two-minute minor for tripping.
Giants then took the lead with less than two minutes remaining in the second period and it was with another powerplay.
Rawlyk was given two minutes for kneeing and Calvin Elfring netted Belfast’s third goal to take a 3-2 advantage going into the final third.
Stars pressed for the equaliser but it was Belfast who wrapped up the game on 52 minutes with a goal from Chris Higgins for a 4-2 win and two points to strengthen their lead at the top of the standings.
Home coach Hutchins said: “This was a critical game for us and one we were in control of when it was taken out of our hands by some dreadful decisions by the official.
“The team played well and did all I asked of them but, when you get decisions against you like we did, then it’s hard to take.
“With Sheffield losing, we had a chance to put some space between us and, for long spells, that looked like happening.
“We will put this disappointment behind us and prepare for two games against Fife next week.”