NEWCASTLE Vipers’ Elite League play-off dream suffered a major setback with defeat at Dundee Stars last night.
Danny Stewart’s men succumbed 4-1 to the Taysiders to slip back to seven points behind Dundee in the chase for the eighth and final play-off slot, with 10 games to go.
Brent Hughes made the breakthrough for the hosts in the closing stages of the first period, and Jay Latulippe doubled the lead on the powerplay at 24.12, before making it 3-0 soon after.
Vipers – outshot 45-25 – quickly rallied with a Toms Hartmanis strike, but they could not find a second goal, despite a battling third-period effort.
Dundee completed the scoring into an empty net when Peter Cartwright pounced after netminder Charlie Effinger was withdrawn for an extra skater in a desperate attempt to force a goal.
On Saturday, Vipers had closed the gap by thumping struggling Edinburgh Capitals 7-2 at Whitley Bay, with Mike Prpich and Jaroslaw Rzeszutko both notching twice, supported by strikes from Kyle Sibley, Jamie Tinsley and Toms Hartmanis, whose productive evening also brought four assists.