The Newcastle Northstars bounced back from a narrow loss to rivals CBR Brave to beat Sydney Ice Dogs 4-3 on Sunday at Macquarie Ice Rink.
The Australian Ice Hockey League defending champions did it on Sunday without crowd-pleasing forward Zane Jones, who was injured in the second period of Saturday’s 4-3 loss in Canberra.
Import Joe Harcharik was hurt by a wayward puck in the same period of the CBR game and a stick cut import defenceman Felix-Antoine Poulin over the eye, although both men played in Sydney on Sunday.
The split results left the Northstars in fourth place on 10 points after two wins and an overtime victory in eight games, level with Perth Thunder and behind the Brave and Melbourne Ice (both 11), although the Ice have played only four games and the Brave six.
Brian Bales and former Northstar Jan Safar put the Brave 2-0 up in the first period on Saturday before Poulin pulled one back.
CBR went 3-1 ahead before Poulin and Steven Kuhn tied the game up, but another former Northstars import, Geordie Wudrick, scored a disputed winner in the last minute.
A double from Matt Marantz and goals to Harcharik and Mat Lindsay gave Newcastle a 4-1 lead over the Ice Dogs entering the final period on Sunday before the home side fought back to 4-3 with a second goal to Strat Allen and a strike from Grant Toulmin with 18 seconds to go.
Newcastle will host Perth Thunder at Hunter Ice Skating Stadium on Saturday then the Ice Dogs on Sunday.