It was fast, it was fiery and, in the end, the Newcastle Northstars "found a way" to win.
Down to three men and at 3-all early in the third period, the Northstars responded at both ends of the rink to eventually beat the Sydney Ice Dogs 5-4 at Hunter Ice Skating Stadium on Sunday.
This result ensures six-time champions Newcastle remain on top of the Australian Ice Hockey League standings, having dropped only one of their opening 12 games in 2019.
"At the end of the day the boys found a way," Northstars coach John Kennedy jnr said.
"We fought through it and that's been the story of our season so far."
The hosts had led 3-0 midway through the middle term courtesy of Sammy Banga, Canadian debutant Luke Simpson and captain Bert Malloy before conceding three straight, including two in the space of 15 seconds.
Pat Nadin then broke the deadlock for Newcastle with 12 minutes left on the clock before second Canadian recruit Trey Phillips netted in the closing stages of his maiden appearance.
An Ice Dogs goal in the dying seconds reduced the margin to one and rounded out a gripping encounter.
"They had a 5-on-3 power play so we had to fight that," Kennedy jnr said.
"They ended up getting one goal from that but once it was over, and we were back to 5-on-5 hockey, we responded.
"Our boys just showed how hungry they are."
The second period ended with 25 seconds still to play after tensions boiled over in a scuffle and several players from either side were given time off in the penalty box.
The Northstars now have a weekend off before a top-of-the-table clash against defending premiers the Canberra Brave at Warners Bay on June 22.