CORNWALL – The Nationals powered their way to a 7-5 victory over the North Shore Knights on Sunday night in Federal Hockey League action at the Civic Complex.
Captain Ahmed Mahfouz had a hat trick and added four assists as the first-place Nationals improved to 5-1-0-1. Cornwall is now a perfect 3-0 on home ice this season.
With the Nationals on a powerplay, Maxime Guyon found a wide-open Eric Witzel at side of the net for a tap-in goal 7:16 into the contest to open the scoring.
But, some sloppy play and a turnover at the blueline resulted in a North Shore marker with 2:08 to play in the first. Vito Scaringi eventually tipped a shot from the point past a helpless Brandon Billie, who was making his first start of the season for Cornwall.
Mahfouz then out-weighted North Shore goaltender Christian Pavlas and found a wide open Guyon, who made it 2-1 Cornwall only 59 seconds into the second period. The Knights levelled the score 68 seconds later however, as Josh Newberg tucked a backhander past Billie.
Justin Portillo gave the Nationals a 3-2 lead at 6:24 of the middle frame. With Cornwall on the powerplay, Mahfouz did all the work, found a wide open Portillo, who buried a wrist shot into an empty net.
With 5:33 to go in the second, and the Nationals on another powerplay, Mahfouz gave Cornwall a two-goal lead with a nifty backhand from a tough angle.
But, Radoslav Konecny beat a sprawling Billie with 34.9 seconds to play in the second.
Sylvester Bzdyl was the next recipient of a slick Mahfouz pass as he gave the Nationals a 5-3 lead three minutes into the third. North Shore fought right back however, with a perfectly placed wrist shot by Marvin Powell.
Mahfouz then threw the puck toward the net and got a lucky bounce off a North Shore defenceman’s leg to give the Nationals a 6-4 lead with 9:02 to play in the third. It was Cornwall’s fourth powerplay of the game.
Newberg brought North Shore back to within a goal with 6:59 to play.
But the captain completed the hat trick by finishing off a perfect tick-tac-toe play with Guyon with 1:10 to play in the game.
Cornwall outshot North Shore 43-29 on the night. Mahfouz (first), Guyon (second) and Witzel were the announced stars. The attendance was 649.
ROAD TRIP: The Nationals traveled to Port Huron, MI, for a pair of games against the Prowlers. On Friday night, Cornwall lost its first game of the season in regulation, 6-2. Brandon Gilmour and Guyon had the Nationals markers, while Yianni Liarakos and Dalton Jay led the Port Huron offence with a pair of goals each. On Saturday, Witzel scored twice to lead Cornwall to a 3-2 victory. Guyon added his 5th of the season, while Sebastien Dube-Rochon stopped 29-of-31 shots to earn the win in goal.
UP NEXT: The Nationals travel to Watertown, NY, on Thursday, Nov. 30 to take on the Wolves (7:30 p.m.). Cornwall is back on home ice next Saturday, Dec. 2 vs. Watertown. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m.