The Yellowstone Quake was looking for three wins when they hit the road for a three-game stand with the Glacier Nationals (4-21) in Whitefish, Mont.
The team needed to put its best foot forward to stay even in third place in the Northern Pacific Hockey League with the Vancouver Victory (11-14).
The Quake finished the weekend 2-1.
"It was an OK series," head coach Joe Cardarelli said. "We had a short bench because of injuries."
Friday night, the Quake (13-11-2) opened the series with a strong scoring attack led by forward Drew Parus' hat trick.
Parus netted his first score of the evening on a power play at the 8:27 mark in the first period.
Yellowstone held onto the lead until Glacier's Danny Roe evened the score early in the second. At the end of the second, Parus nabbed his second power-play goal of the night.
On the evening, the Quake finished 2-6 on the power play and didn't give up any scores during the Nationals' eight chances with an extra man.
To open the third, the Quake's Michael Pijanowski netted his first goal of the night, but the Quake wouldn't need another. The Nationals scored at the 3:08 mark, but the Quake were tough on defense.
Parus, Pijanowski and Alex Johansons all scored in the third to seal the Quake's 6-2 victory to open the two-game series, and they did it by taking 10 less shots than Glacier.
Goaltender Dom DeGuiseppi finished the night only giving up two goals on 48 chances. On the evening, the Quake only took 38 shots on goal.
On Saturday, the Quake cut the Nationals down to 25 shots on goal, nearly half the previous night, but couldn't hold on for the win. Glacier took the game 4-3.
"Saturday wasn't our best effort," Cardarelli said. "I don't think I did a good job of keeping their focus and having them ready to go.
"We were just flat."
After a scoreless first period, the Quake jumped to an early lead in the second. Pijanowski scored first for the Quake, followed by a Travis Momon goal less than a minute later.
The Nationals tied the game later in the second on goals by Roe and Travis Redman, but the Quake jumped up 3-2 when Christian Manning scored early in the third.
The Nationals tied the game at the 16:44 mark in the third, and took the lead with less than two minutes to play on Roe's second goal of the night.
Hungry to finish the series with a win, the Quake bounced back from an early deficit and came up with a commanding 8-3 victory.
"Saturday was disappointing, but we rebounded on Sunday," Cardarelli said. "We did a much better job finishing our scoring chances."
Roe scored first for the Nationals, before Andreas Olofsson tied it for the Quake. Zach Tuchklaper netted a shorthanded goal to give the Quake the lead late in the first.
But in the second, the Quake put the game out of reach. After two early Glacier goals, five different Yellowstone players scored.
Tuchklaper and Olofsson added their second goals of the night, and Parus, Johansons, and Tom Toohey all scored for the Quake. TJay Lozier added another Yellowstone goal in the third, pushing the lead 8-3.
The Quake held Glacier scoreless for the last 25 minutes of the game. On the afternoon, Yellowstone finished 3-8 on the power play, and took nearly 20 more shots on goal than the Nationals.
During the series, the Quake only allowed one power-play goal in the Nationals 19 chances, and they outshot the Nationals 130-112. Yellowstone also finished the weekend 5-23 on the power play.
Yellowstone has three weeks off for the holidays, before returning to Riley Arena Jan. 6-7 for a two-game series with the Nationals.
"It will be good for the guys to go home and see their family and friends," Cardarelli said. "It's a great chance for the team to rejuvenate the batteries.
"But it will be a tough rebound."
Although they're in third place right now, Vancouver and Eugene play over the next two weeks. Vancouver plays five games, and Eugene plays two.
"With the series being over with Vancouver, we're going to watch Eugene, closely," Cardarelli said. "They're a solid team, and in the last couple of weeks, they've been playing better and better."