The Cornwall Nationals' inaugural season in the Federal Hockey League came to an end on Saturday night at the Civic Complex, where the Berlin River Drivers skated to a 6-3 victory over the Nats in front of 713 fans.
Jay Croop opened the scoring for the Nationals 5:06 into the contest, when he pounced on a rebound and finished with a backhanded shot over a sprawling Cory Simons. Berlin quickly levelled the score, when Yuto Osawa, left all alone in front of Josselin St. Pierre, buried a wrist shot at 7:30 of the opening frame. The River Drivers took a 2-1 lead, when Patrick Harrison trickled over the goal line for a powerplay marker with 4:36 to play in the first.
Moments later, with 2:03 remaining in the period, Jan Salak banged in John Celli’s rebound to give Berlin a two-goal lead. Mitchell Porowski fired an absolute blast past Simons with 3:07 to play in the second period, as Cornwall crept to within a goal. Harrison beat St. Pierre with a nifty deke for his second of the contest at 4:02 of the third, but MJ Graham got the goal back for Cornwall just 52 seconds later with a great second effort.
Jiri Pestuka and Charlile Sarault iced it with a pair of short-handed empty-net goals with 1:20 and 25.8 to play in the third.
Berlin outshot Cornwall 49-32.
Chris Cloutier (first, two assists), St. Pierre (second), and Harrison were the announced stars.
The Nationals finish their inaugural season with a 16-34-4-3 record, placing sixth in the FHL standings.
Alexandria native Joel Trottier took over coaching the team late in the season and is expected to carry on at the helm as the Nats look towards their second year on the ice.
ROAD LOSS: The River Drivers skated to a 9-2 victory over the Nationals on Friday night in Berlin. Celli led the way for the River Drivers with a hat trick, while Dominik Synek had a goal and four assists. Maxime Guyon had both Cornwall markers. Olivier Gervais was tagged with the loss in goal for the Nationals, who were outshot 57-26.
– with files from Rodney Wilson