MANCHESTER Phoenix fell a goal short of the EPL Cup Final as they were edged by Guildford Flames on Saturday.
Michal Psurny fired home late in the third period to put his side 4-3 ahead in the second leg of their Semi Final.
But time ran out on a fifth which would have sent the tie to overtime.
Down 6-4 after the first leg, Phoenix needed a positive start but were three goals behind on aggregate in the 13th minute.
Curtis Huppe deceived Andy Jaszczyk to make it 1-0 but two goals in 26 seconds gave them real hope.
Guildford battled back and got the equaliser through Nathan Rempel with half of the match remaining.Ondrej Pozivil hit the first on 25.36 and 25 seconds later Psurny tallied on the powerplay.
Manchester upped the ante in the third to chase down the two goal disadvantage and were rewarded on 42.26 with a third goal.
James Archer hit a scorcher from the right wing but with less than 10 minutes remaining Rempel tagged his second.
Psurny hit his 38th of the season to ensure a desperate last few minutes but ultimately Phoenix couldn’t find the killer touch to take it to overtime – Guildford winning 9-8
Player coach Tony Hand said: “I thought we controlled the game for long periods, taking the game to Guildford. I am proud of the guys after a superb effort. They gave me absolutely everything and with a little bit of luck we could have got something from the game.
“They are a good side but we matched them tonight and unfortunately fell just short.”
On Sunday, Phoenix beat title chasing Basingstoke 6-2 in front of a sell out home crowd.
In a match that barely lived up to the ‘second v third’ hype, Tom Duggan and Psurny had Manchester 2-0 up within just four minutes.
Joe Greener pulled one back but Phoenix took charge after a dour second period.
Andy McKinney scored with 70 seconds remaining and then Joachim Flaten added his 26th of the year.
Psurny added his second of the night three minutes into the third and then James Archer’s weak shot flew underneath Stevie Lyle in the Bison goal.