WITH five games remaining in the Australian Ice Hockey League season, the Newcastle North Stars's goals are clear - to win each game and make the finals.
North Stars coach Garry Dore said a finals appearance for the North Stars was possible after the team's "inspired" performance against the CBR Brave and Sydney Ice Dogs last weekend.
The North Stars lost 3-2 to the Brave after a physically demanding game in Canberra.
They bounced back on Sunday to win a hard-fought battle, 5-3, against the Ice Dogs at Hunter Ice Skating Stadium.
Dore said the North Stars should be buoyed by their performance last weekend.
He said the team "played their backsides off" against the Brave on Saturday and backed it up with a high-energy, penalty-laden game against the Ice Dogs on Sunday.
Knowing they had to produce a game-winning performance against the Ice Dogs to remain within reach of the top four on the league's ladder, the North Stars hit the ice with energy and determination.
That determination soon turned into points on the board, with Beau Taylor racking up the first goal of the game, which the Ice Dogs neutralised by the end of the first period.
Goals from Chris Wilson and Adam Geric in the second period saw the North Stars surge ahead.
The Ice Dogs soon shortened the lead. However, Sydney's two final-period goals were not enough to counter goals by Cody Danberg and John Kennedy, which saw the game end 5-3 in Newcastle's favour.
This weekend the North Stars face Perth Thunder and Sydney Bears at Hunter Ice Skating Stadium.