Fife Flyers’ failure to gain any points from two home matches in the final weekend of the regular season means they finished in the eighth and final play-off spot.
Now they face newly-crowned Elite League champions Sheffield Steelers in the quarter-final a huge task.
Fife’s fate was secured when Braehead Clan last night claimed the second European place thanks to a 3-2 victory in Kirkcaldy.
Hull Stingrays finished seventh thanks to a 2-1 penalty shot victory at Coventry Blaze and will play Braehead Clan in the quarter-finals.
Nottingham Panthers play Coventry Blaze while Cardiff Devils take on Belfast Giants.
Last night in Kirkcaldy, Stefan Meyer’s goal less than 15 minutes from time ended Fife’s resistance and ensured the Glasgow club will play in the Champions Hockey League next season.
Neil Trimm handed Clan the ideal start, netting after 65 seconds, but Jamie Milam equalised 11 minutes later only for Clan’s Ben Davies to put the visitors ahead for a second time after 26 minutes.
Ned Lukacevic levelled at 2-2 four minutes later and the sides were tied until Meyer slotted home after 45 minutes.
The Glasgow side finished the regular season with 73 points, one ahead of Cardiff Devils, the Challenge Cup holders.
Dundee Stars’ nightmare season ended last night when they were edged 4-3 by Edinburgh Capitals after penalty shots.
The Tayside team have won only six of their 52 league games in regular time and finished bottom of the Elite League table with 33 points.
On Saturday Capitals beat the Stars 5-3, despite being outshot 45-35.
Riley Emmerson top scored for the visitors with two goals and Daniel Naslund continued his impressive recent form with four assists. Stars’ strikes came from Bari McKenzie, Shane Lust and James Isaacs.
Belfast Giants won 3-1 at Kirkcaldy, destroying Flyers with a three-goal, second period burst from Jeff Mason, Evan Cheverie and Kevin Phillips in just over 13 minutes. Ned Lukacevic netted Fife’s consolation after 48 minutes.