THE Newcastle North Stars returned home from Canberra on Saturday feeling pretty pleased with their efforts.
The team's 8-0 defeat over the Canberra Knights has all but confirmed their place in the Australian Ice Hockey League finals in three weeks.
It also showed the league what its "local boys" can do, sending a message that any line Newcastle coach Garry Dore sends out on to the ice is not to be taken lightly.
It took a while for Newcastle to find their feet in the smaller Canberra rink on Saturday, even though Dore has always said they have to adjust to this when they travel to the meet the Knights.
"It's a small ice rink at Canberra and it always takes us a period to get used to the tight, physical hockey," Dore said.
The first goal came with four minutes left in the first period, delivered by Newcastle local players Matt Wetini and Tim Stanger.
By the end of the night, Stanger had netted two of the North Stars' eight goals.
All eyes were on the other local forward player Beau Taylor, who earned a hat-trick - taking his tally to 11 from 22 games this season.
Taylor scored Newcastle's two goals in the second period to take it to 3-0.
He delivered the first of five North Stars' goals in the final 20 minutes of the game.
After that came Stanger's second, two from import player Pier-Olivier Cotnoir and one from Dominic Osman.
Two assists by Canadian import Jeff Martens shot him to the top of the league's scoring leader board with 60 points from 25 games played this season. That is five points ahead of Melbourne Ice's Jason Baclig.
Dore also had high praise for goaltender Olivier Martin, who delivered his third shut-out this season.
The North Stars face the Melbourne Mustangs this Saturday in their final home game of the season.
Then they travel to Victoria to face the two Melbourne sides in a double-header.