The Newcastle Northstars remain firmly fixed at the top of the Australian Ice Hockey League (AIHL) ladder following two wins in Adelaide at the weekend to extend their unbeaten start to the season.
In their first road trip for 2019 and playing their third consecutive double header, the Northstars' posted emphatic 10-3 and 8-2 wins against hosts Adelaide Adrenaline.
Northstars head coach John F Kennedy Jr said he was "super happy" with the results.
"The team's executing at a high level. We're playing a complete game," he said. "We're executing on the opportunities, our power play was going well, our puck movement was good, things went our way."
Slovakian import Dominik Gabaj had a breakout weekend for the Northstars, scoring seven goals and making three assists across the two games.
Gabaj's double hat-trick - a rare feat in the AIHL - helped shoot him to the top of the AIHL's scoring leader board with 19 points.
He is followed closely by fellow Newcastle import Sammy Banga and Sydney Ice Dogs import Dylan Manierka-Quaile, both Canadian, on 18 points.
Following this weekend's 8 games, the @AIHL is starting to form groups. Thunder, Ice & Adrenaline are at risk of dropping out of #AIHLFinals contention early. @sydneybears host both MLB teams next weekend - results will be pretty important to final 4 #AIHL placings IMO. pic.twitter.com/0k9toSegbh— Peter Lambert (@BigIcePete) May 12, 2019
Kennedy said Gabaj was a "natural goal scorer" who was able to find the "scoring zone" consistently across the weekend.
Gabaj's efforts were closely followed by that of Newcastle's Richie Tesarik who scored three goals and made six assists across the weekend, import Francis Drolet (three goals, four assists), Tomas Landa (one goal, six assists) and Banga (one goal, five assists).
Another highlight of the weekend was Landa's return to the ice.
Landa, who last played in Newcastle colours in August 2018, was registered as the Northstars' fifth import at the start of the season.
However, the Czech-born Landa received his Australian permanent residency during the week and can now play as a local. On Sunday, he marked his 150th AIHL game.
Kennedy said Landa's return bolstered the team and provided them with "a lot of firepower".
"All three lines were firing. It was a real team effort," he said.
The Northstars will look to keep their winning streak rolling when they return home to Hunter Ice Skating Stadium to face Melbourne Ice on Saturday, May 18 and Melbourne Mustangs on Sunday, May 19.