CINCINNATI, Ohio - Paul Crowder and Chris Barton picked up where they left off last season, scoring one goal each, as the Wheeling Nailers erased a 2-0 deficit against the Cincinnati Cyclones.
However, the Cyclones were able to prevail as Mathieu Aubin and Brian O'Hanley connected in the shootout, giving host Cincinnati a 3-2 victory in the season opener.
Both goaltenders brought their best work to the table in the opening period, as Patrick Killeen and Brian Foster traded sparkling stops in the early going.
The Cyclones opened the scoring, courtesy of a power play goal with 3:21 remaining in the opening stanza. Garrett Wilson took a feed from David Pacan and rushed down the right side of the ice. He then cut to the middle, in the process of flipping a backhander over Killeen's left shoulder.
Cincinnati added to the lead at the 4:19 mark of the second period, thanks to another goal on the man advantage.
Mathieu Aubin and Michael Pelech moved the puck quickly, before Dan Eves smacked in a shot from the right side of the crease.
The Nailers got on the board shortly before the midway mark of regulation. Barton took a shot from the right side that got batted around in front of the net. The puck ended up on Crowder's stick, as he proceeded to shovel in the team's first marker of the season.
Midway through the third period, Wheeling got the equalizer. While on the power play, Crowder slid a pass across the slot to Barton, who blasted a one-timer into the back of the cage.
Barton's goal was assisted by Crowder and Cody Wild, and ultimately earned a point for both sides as the game continued into overtime, and eventually a shootout.
The Cyclones wasted little time in finding the twine during the shoototut, as Aubin and Brian O'Hanley gave the home team a quick 2-0 lead. Unfortunately for Wheeling, that was all Cincinnati needed, as the Nailers were unable to light the lamp in four chances.
Foster picked up a victory for the Cyclones, making 26 saves on 28 shots. Killeen took the tough luck shootout loss for the Nailers, despite stopping 28 of the 30 shots during regulation and overtime.
The Nailers will play three games in three nights, starting on Friday, when they battle the Elmira Jackals at 7:05. Wheeling's home opener takes place on Oct. 26 against the Reading Royals. Nailers 2012-13 Ticket Packages are on sale now. Packages start at just $7.50 per game. Call 304-234-GOAL or wheelingnailers.com for more information.