Coach Tony Hand praised his Manchester Phoenix side after they were beaten in the dying seconds of overtime by Swindon Wildcats on Sunday.
Aaron Nell powered the puck past Stephen Fone with just three seconds left on the clock in the extra period to secure a 4-3 win for the visitors.
Phoenix had been forced to draft in Richard Bentham on loan from Blackburn Hawks to boost their bench to 14, and it was Bentham who forced overtime with an equalising goal with 30 seconds left.
Hand said: “Games like this are a great advert for our league and I have the utmost admiration for our guys tonight.
“They gave me everything and it was a bitter blow to lose it with only 3 seconds left.”
Michal Satek cancelled out Sam Bullas’ early opener for the Wildcats, before Jonas Hoog and Nell gave the visitors a two goal advantage.
A brilliant individual goal by Stan Gron got Phoenix back in to the contest before Bentham’s late goal with netminder Fone pulled forced overtime.
The win keeps the Wildcats above Manchester in the EPL table ahead of the two sides meeting again in Swindon on Saturday evening.