Newcastle Northstars face back-to-back Brave tests after beating Sydney Bears

The Newcastle Northstars will turn their attention to a season-defining double header against defending champions and competition leaders the Canberra Brave after knocking off fellow top-four side the Sydney Bears.

The second-placed Novocastrians travel to the nation's capital to meet the Brave on Saturday before backing up and hosting Canberra at Hunter Ice Skating Stadium on Sunday.

In their first encounter of the season, Brave accounted for Newcastle 6-2.

Newcastle are the only team that can catch Canberra in the race for the Australian Ice Hockey League minor premiership in 2019 and it comes after the Northstars beat the Bears 3-1 in Sydney on Friday night.

The Northstars scored a goal in each period at Macquarie Ice Rink and were never headed by the Bears.

Newcastle captain Robert Malloy, returning to the ice after missing last weekend's trip to Melbourne, opened the visitor's account in the opening minutes of the first period.

Canadian import Sammy Banga doubled the Northstars' advantage toward the end of the second period with his 16th goal of the season.

Late in the third Newcastle import Francis Drolet cancelled out Jacob Ratcliffe's sole goal for the Bears, ending the game 3-1.

It was an impressive win for the Northstars who were without several key skaters including David Ferrari and Hamish Powell.

Newcastle drew from the Northstars' East Coast Super League team and called up Matt Wetini and Jason Chalker to bolster its ranks in Friday's game.