George Norcliffe struck four times as Solent Devils smashed five goals past Streatham Redskins on their return to action following the festive break.
But their efforts were not enough to avoid defeat in a thrilling National League south division one cup clash on Sunday.
A 6-5 loss left the Gosport Ice Arena outfit cut adrift at the foot of group A, which also includes Wightlink Raiders.
The Devils and Redskins came out firing in their first match of 2016.
With just 27 seconds on the clock, the hosts lost Adam Wood for high sticking.
And just 18 seconds later – despite being short-handed – Jack Tarczycki beat Sam Calder in the Devils goal to put Streatham ahead.
With Wood still sat in the sin-bin, Shaun Rudkin and Richard Facey provided assists to Norcliffe as he equalised in the third minute.
And before the clock read seven minutes, Facey teed up Norcliffe to double his tally and put the Devils in front.
A breathless start continued when the Redskins levelled a minute later as Wood – back on the ice – netted his 16th goal of the season.
The hitman then turned provider, with Chris Wiggins, as Kamil Kinkor put the home side back ahead.
Devils head coach Alex Murray received a two-minute penalty for high sticks soon after but the visitors stood firm to prevent further damage.
In the 20th minute, though, Kinkor doubled his tally to extend the Redskins’ lead.
And the home fans were cheering again six minutes into the second period when James Warman fed Steven Fisher to make it 5-2.
The Devils refused to give up, though.
Norcliffe reduced the deficit by completing his hat-trick from a Ralfs Circenis pass in the 29th minutes.
And 39 seconds later the duo combined to make it 5-4 – with Norcliffe finding the net again.
The comeback was completed on 35 minutes when Richard Brown helped Murray level the tie.
However, the Devils were unable to find a way past Redskins netminder William Sanderson in the third period – despite their best efforts.
And that left Ryan Giles to lay on Kinkor’s hat-trick at the other end to win the game.
The Devils host Oxford City Stars at the Gosport Ice Arena on Saturday (5pm).
– STEVE BREEN