The great escape remains on for Deeside Dragons after they roared to a vital victory.
The Dragons ran out 8-2 winners over play-off pushing Whitley Warriors on Sunday night to the delight of a packed-out and partisan Den.
The impressive victory means the Flintshire club’s destiny is still in their own hands.
They remain bottom of NIHL North One after relegation rivals Telford Tigers won 3-2 at fellow strugglers Sutton Sting.
But the Dragons will definitely lift themselves off the foot of the Moralee Conference and out of the one drop spot if they win their final two games of the season.
And they will go into the visit of the champions Solway Sharks to the Deeside Ice Rink on Sunday week (March 26) with confidence high after thrashing fourth-placed Whitley.
The Dragons made the worst possible start when Ben Richards fired past rookie netminder Jonah Armstrong, who was taking the place of the injured Denis Bell between the pipes, inside the first minute.
But, roared by on by a passionate home support, they battled back in style with a brace from player-coach Scott McKenzie and further strikes from Slovakian star Filip Supa and skipper James Parsons.
Jordan Barnes reduced the arrears in the second period. That, however, was as good as it got for the Warriors.
The terrier-like Andrew Chappell restored the Dragons’ three-goal advantage before superb breakaway goals from Geoff Wigglesworth and Parsons put the game out of reach.
It was left up to man-of-the-match Parsons to complete the scoring and his hat-trick in the 54th minute.
Shortly after, however, the game was brought to a premature end when 16-year D-Man Louis Morgan sustained head and neck injuries following a clash with Whitley’s veteran enforcer Andre Payette.
Morgan was immediately treated by the medics before being taken to hospital, where he was told he had not suffered any serious damage.
Dragons boss McKenzie, who hopes Morgan will be fit to face Solway, said: “We started slowly and conceded almost straight away. But after that we took the game by the scruff of the neck and we were great.
“I said to the guys beforehand that it was ‘win at all costs’ and that’s exactly what they did.”
Second-from-bottom Telford (home to Whitley) and third-from-bottom Sutton (home to Billingham Stars), who are three points and one point above the Dragons respectively, play their last matches of the campaign this weekend.
But while McKenzie will be keeping ‘half an eye’ on the outcomes, he added: “A lot of results have gone against us in the last month or so.
“But, as I’ve said to the lads, if we win our games we are safe.”