Top-two teams Gosford and Norths landed telling blows against fellow premiership contenders in round 18 of the Hunter Coast Premier Hockey League on Sunday.
Front-runners Gosford maintained their unbeaten run with a 3-2 victory over third-placed Souths at Newcastle International Hockey Centre while Norths all-but cemented second spot after rallying late with back-to-back goals in quick succession to run down the Rams 2-1 at Maitland.
The same four sides will go head-to-head in next month’s semi-final series.
At Maitland Park, the Blues had the majority of the play in the first half only to be denied time and time again by the Rams keeper Brad Patterson.
Maitland’s Matt Brown scored first with a tomahawk which could be contender for goal of the season to give the home side a 1-0 lead.
Norths kept asking questions of the Maitland defence and scored two late goals to seal the win.