CINCINNATI - Chris Barton and Matt Schepke showed some early chemistry Friday night, as both players picked up a goal and an assist. However, the Cincinnati Cyclones came out on top as Mathieu Aubin broke a 2-2 tie with 10:07 left in the second period, giving the home team a 3-2 exhibition victory at US Bank Arena. Special teams were also key in the contest, as Cincinnati's penalty kill was perfect on 10 chances.
The two teams will complete the preseason when they meet at 2 on Sunday at WesBanco Arena.
The Cyclones opened the scoring at the 1:21 mark of the first period, courtesy of a power-play goal. After Michael Chiasson was whistled for playing the puck outside of the trapezoid, Maury Edwards took a shot from the middle of the blueline that was deflected into the goal by Dan Eves' body. Eves' marker was assisted by Edwards and Aubin.
With 7:08 remaining in the first period, the Nailers evened the score. Ben Farrer laid the body against Mike Liambas in front of the Cincinnati bench, freeing the puck for Schepke, who set up Barton for a one-timed goal from the slot.
Schepke and Barton connected again in the first minute of the second period. As Wheeling's power play was coming to its conclusion, Barton took a shot from the left side that was turned aside by Zoltan Hetenyi. However, the rebound kicked out to Schepke, who slammed it in, putting the visitors on top.
However, the lead lasted for just under four minutes, as Cincinnati tied the game. Mathew Sisca spotted Cory McGillis coming out of the penalty box and he proceeded to cruise down the right side of the ice, slipping a shot through Chiasson's legs. Shortly before the midway mark of regulation, the Cyclones retook the lead. Maury Edwards dropped a pass into the left faceoff circle for Aubin, who spun a deflection into the cage.
The Nailers had four power-play opportunities in the third period, as they attempted to force overtime, but came up empty.
Hetenyi earned a victory stopping 17 of the 19 shots. Chiasson suffered a loss allowing three goals on nine shots before giving way to Matt Tendler, who rejected all 10 shots sent his way.