JAMES Archer scored with less than three minutes remaining to lift Manchester Phoenix past a desperate Peterborough Phantoms.
Phantoms, needing a point from the game or Bracknell to lose to make the end of season playoffs, staged a third period fight back to scare the home side in their final league game.
Phoenix took the lead early in the first period as Stephen Wallace netted from close range after good work from Tom Duggan as he fought his was through the Phantoms defence to create the chance.
They doubled their lead late in the second period with a controversial goal from Juraj Faith, which Phantoms netminder Damien King was adamant the puck did not cross the goal line.
But with the Phantoms playoff hopes in the balance, they tied the game with two goals in less than a minute through Ondrej Lauko and Luke Ferrara seemingly sending the game to overtime with a valuable point going to the visitors.
However a late power-play chance for Phoenix saw Archer fire a bullet slap shot that was too hot for King to handle to seal the points, with the assist again going to Duggan.
Phantoms however clinched a playoff spot after Bracknell crashed out with a 7-3 loss to Swindon Wildcats, who will be Phoenix’s opponents next weekend in the playoff quarter-finals.
Coach Tony Hand said: “This has been a real rollercoaster of a league campaign and I think we can be proud of what we achieved, considering the injuries we carried for a large part of the season.
“We are ready for the playoffs, we know what Swindon are capable of, and we are looking forward to challenging for the final piece of silverware this season.”