Patience paid off for the Nationals on Sunday afternoon, as Cornwall snapped a two-game losing streak with a 7-5 victory over the Berlin River Drivers in front of 424 dedicated fans.
The start of the game was pushed back nearly four hours because of poor weather-related driving conditions that delayed the River Drivers.
The FHL Nationals took advantage with a quick start, jumping out to a 2-0 first-period lead, on goals by Joel Trottier and Anthony Mezzagno before the game was five minutes old. JC Houde gave the Nationals a 3-0 lead with 5:51 to play in the first, when he beat Matt Kaludis. Brad Gabbour got Berlin on the scoreboard with 58 seconds to play in the first.
Newly-signed forward Storm Adams of Akwesasne extended Cornwall’s lead to 4-1 at 3:14 of the middle frame before Mezzagno added his second of the contest, with a short-handed effort at 6:22. Berlin’s Dominik Synek returned the favour, with a short-handed goal of his own, beating Francis Dupuis at 9:32 of the second.
Trottier added his second of the game with a power-play marker at 10:33 of the second, before Stanislav Vlasov recorded a goal on the man advantage with 1:16 to play in the second. Berlin’s Kristaps Nimanis added a power-play goal at 10:30 of the third. Jiri Pestuka then took off on a semi-breakaway and beat Dupuis up high with a nifty backhand.
With 2:04 to play, Nimanis buried a cross-crease pass to bring the River Drivers to within two goals. Berlin fired 20 shots on net in the third period.
A chippy second period featured three scraps, as Cornwall and Berlin renewed their heated rivalry. Cornwall’s Joe Cannan took care of Berlin’s Andre Niec, before Nationals sniper Ian Boots dropped the mitts with John Celli. Veteran Cornwall defenceman Chris Cloutier then had his way with Mitchell Porowski of the River Drivers.
Berlin outshot Cornwall 37-30. Adams (first), Trottier (second), and Mezzagno were the announced stars.
Next up, Cornwall travels to Berlin to take on the River Drivers on Friday, Feb. 17 (8 p.m.). The Nationals then wrap up the weekend with a home-and-home with the Watertown Wolves. On Saturday, Feb. 18, Cornwall visits Watertown (7:30 p.m.) and on Sunday, Feb. 19, the Nationals host the Wolves at the Civic Complex. The puck drops at 1 p.m.
ROAD WOES: At Watertown last Friday night, the Wolves jumped out to a 4-0 first-period lead, en route to a 5-2 victory over the Nationals. Adams, in his Cornwall debut, scored both goals. The Nationals were outshot 62-33. The following night in Danbury, Nikolai Okhlobystin had two goals and an assist to lead the Titans to a 5-2 victory over Cornwall. Boots and Houde had the Nationals goals. Cornwall was outshot 32-29.
– with files from Rodney Wilson