AIHL: Sammy Banga stars as Newcastle Northstars move to second after mixed double-header weekend | photos

Newcastle Northstars forward Richard Tesarik battles Melbourne Ice captain Lliam Webster for the puck in Sunday's clash at Hunter Ice Skating Staium. Ice won 4-3. Picture: PowerPlay Photographics
Newcastle Northstars forward Richard Tesarik battles Melbourne Ice captain Lliam Webster for the puck in Sunday's clash at Hunter Ice Skating Staium. Ice won 4-3. Picture: PowerPlay Photographics

Canadian mid-season import Sammy Banga continues to impress at the Newcastle Northstars, scoring three goals and providing as many assists in a mixed weekend for the Australian Ice Hockey League team.

Banga opened the home side’s account at Warners Bay on Sunday in a 4-3 loss to the Melbourne Ice after nabbing a first-period double in Saturday’s 5-4 win over Adelaide Adrenaline.  

Despite the defeat Newcastle (30 points) still jumped to second spot on the competition ladder, nine behind leaders Canberra Brave (39) and one in front of the Sydney Ice Dogs (29). 

The Northstars have played 18 games, more than both the Brave’s 17 and Ice Dogs’ 16, and have 10 remaining in the regular season starting with the Brave in Canberra on Saturday. 

Newcastle will be bouncing back from Sunday’s one goal loss, which featured a double to Nick Rivait. The Northstars were level with the Ice at 1-all after the first period and down 3-2 at the second break. 

Saturday’s fifth-goal winner against the Adrenaline was scored by Newcastle captain Robert Malloy inside the final three minutes. Twice Adelaide squared up after trailling by two. Joe Harcharik also converted for the Northstars.

AIHL STANDINGS: Brave (39), Northstars (30), Ice Dogs (29), Thunder (26), Bears (23), Mustangs (22), Ice (21), Adrenaline (11).

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