The Belfast Giants' Elite League title hopes suffered a major setback with a 2-1 defeat by Braehead Clan at the SSE Arena on Saturday night.
The visitors silenced the Giants' biggest home crowd of the season when Brendan Brooks scored on seven minutes.
The Clan extended their lead early in the second period through a neat passing move between Matt Keith and goalscorer Alex Leavitt.
The Giants eventually scored through Higgins with four minutes remaining.
Brooks coolly finished one-on-one with Giants netminder Stephen Murphy to give the Clan the lead and it could have been worse for Belfast, but Murphy saved from Scott Pitt with a smart high glove save as the puck was fired over his left shoulder.
The Giants had their own chances in the opening period,with the mercurial Chris Higgins prominent, but the Clan more than held their own for the first 20 minutes.
Leavitt's goal gave the hosts a steeper mountain to climb and the remainder of the second period saw a sustained siege on the Braehead goal punctuated with dangerous breakouts by the Clan.
Higgins's goal proved a mere consolation as Derrick Walser's side were left to rue a weak powerplay on a night when they failed to convert a host of chances.