Belfast Giants's hopes of retaining the Elite League title suffered a blow as they were beaten 3-2 by Coventry Blaze at the SkyDome Arena.
Adam Keefe put Belfast ahead and after Ben Arnt and James Jorgensen netted for Blaze, Ray Sawada levelled before the end of the first period.
Cale Tanaka hit what proved to the winner for Coventry midway through the second period.
Tanaka's goal came while Sawada was in the penalty box.
The Giants outshot the home side 12-7 in the final period but were unable to find a way past Blaze keeper Brian Stewart.
The sides meet again in Coventry on Sunday evening (17:15 GMT).
Saturday's game saw the return of Kevin Saurette after injury as well as the debut of new signing Nathan Robinson.
Mike Kompon and Kevin Westgarth were suspended for Saturday's game but will be available again on Sunday.
Kompon was given his ban after being found to have verbally abused an official during Belfast's game against Braehead last Saturday.
Westgarth was banned for his role in a fight which broke out during the game against Cardiff the previous night.