Three power-play goals propelled the Nationals to a 7-4 victory over the Danbury Titans on Sunday at the Cornwall Civic Complex.
Local hockey fans certainly got their money’s worth on Sunday afternoon as they were treated to fast, exciting Federal Hockey League action for only $5. The announced attendance was 672.
With the Nationals on a 5-on-3 powerplay, Anthony Mezzagno opened the scoring at 8:45 of the first with a perfectly placed wrist shot that beat Bobby Bowden over the shoulder. Moments later, Maxime Guyon buried a nice feed from Lou Dickenson for another powerplay marker at 9:43. Dalton Jay tipped a shot past Nicolas Delongchamps at 12:53 to put the Titans on the scoreboard.
Sylvester Bzdyl then batted a Joel Trottier (Alexandria's own) rebound out of mid-air and past Bowden at 4:50 of the second period. Trottier sent Mezzagno in on a breakaway with a nifty alley-oop pass and he made no mistake at 9:49 of the middle frame. Taylor Bourne beat Delongchamps with a shot between the legs 1:12 into the third period, but Trottier tipped a blast from the point off the stick of Green Valley's Tristen Elie and in at 6:23 of the third.
With the Nationals on another powerplay, Maxime Guyon one-timed a Jason Dolgy pass to the back of the net at 8:51 of the third. With Danbury on a 5-on-3 powerplay, the Titans pulled their goalie with nine minutes to go in the third, and it resulted on a Steve Brown marker.
But with the Nationals shorthanded, Marley Keca forced a turnover and beat Bowden with a perfectly placed wrist shot with 7:41 to play in the third. Alexander Taulien rounded out the scoring late in the game for Danbury.
Danbury outshot Cornwall 51-43. Trottier (first), Mezzagno (second), and Keca were the announced stars.
The Nationals will be back in action on Friday, Dec. 16 when they visit Port Huron to take on the Prowlers (7:30 p.m.). Cornwall then returns to the Civic Complex for a pair of home games over the weekend. On Saturday, Dec. 17, the Nationals will host the St. Clair Shores Fighting Saints at 7:30 p.m. And on Sunday, Dec. 18, Cornwall hosts the Watertown Wolves for a 1 p.m. game at the Civic Complex.
After Sunday’s game, there will be a meet-and-greet with the Nationals downstairs at the Civic Complex in Salon B. There will also be a special appearance from Santa Claus.
The Nationals have dealt forward Lou Dickenson’s rights to the Port Huron Prowlers in exchange for the rights to Jeff Legue and Williamstown native Jonathan Jasper. The Prowlers had recently claimed Legue and Jasper on waivers.
“The rules in the Federal Hockey League are much different than what fans around here are used to,” explains general manager Mitch Gagne, who has pushed the FHL for a rule change which would prevent teams from holding others hostage with players they’ve acquired off waivers. “I believe the league will look into this after the season is over,” adds Gagne.
Another FHL rule is that teams can only carry 18 players. A challenge early on for the Nationals has been icing different teams from one game to another, which led to the Dickenson transaction.
“Unfortunately, Lou had a hard time making Friday games because of work, and we just can’t keep sending 12 or 13 players on the road,” said Gagne. “I’m also very close to adding an extremely talented forward to fill the void.”
Up next for Gagne is to add a defenceman. Yan Dumontier suited up in his final game for the Nationals on Sunday; he departs this week for France, where he’ll finish the season.
Cornwall is also dealing with injuries to blueliners Jason Lepine and Kris McCarthy.
The Nationals are currently tied for fourth in FHL standings with a 6-8-2 record (wins-losses-overtime wins).
– with files from Rodney Wilson