ELMIRA, N.Y. - Bobby Farnham and Tom Kuhnhackl both set career milestones Friday night, netting their first professional goals for the Wheeling Nailers. However, it was the host Elmira Jackals who ended up with the final say, scoring three times in a span of less than five minutes, taking home a 4-2 victory at First Arena.
The Jackals opened the scoring at the 8:27 mark of the first period. Dustin Gazley started the rush on the right side of the ice before proceeding to direct the puck into the slot from the right circle. The puck bounced around in the crease, before dribbling just out of the reach of Patrick Killeen's right pad. Artem Demkov reached out and was able to get enough lift on the puck to send it sneaking over the line. Elmira took that 1-0 lead into the first intermission, despite watching the Nailers record nine of the final 11 shots of the frame.
Wheeling wasted little time in drawing even, lighting the lamp 27 seconds into the second.
The Jackals turned the puck over to Paul Crowder, who immediately spotted Bobby Farnham in the slot. Farnham took the feed and ripped a shot into the top corner of the goal, beating Nathan Lawson over his left shoulder.
Unfortunately for the visitors, Elmira regained the lead in the latter stages of the period. Former Nailer Kyle Bushee sent a shot wide of the goal from the point, but the rebound kicked out to Jimmy Martin who deposited the loose change for the go-ahead goal. Less than two minutes later, the Jackals added insurance, as a quick passing play resulted in a power play for Dustin Gazley, assisted by Danny New and Chris Wideman.
Jordon Southorn extended Elmira's lead early in the third period, as he connected for a power play goal. The former Wheeling defenseman took a feed from Louie Caporusso, and snapped a shot into the left side of the net. The Nailers got that goal back 3:19 later, when Cody Wild wheeled his way around the zone before setting up Kuhnhackl, who lifted a shot into the top corner of the goal.
Lawson played in his first ECHL game since the 2008-09 season, and was on the top of his game, stopping 32 of the 34 shots he faced for a victory. Killeen made 24 saves on 28 shots, but came out on the short end of the decision.
The Nailers and Jackals will do battle again tonight, with faceoff scheduled for 7:05. Wheeling opens its home schedule on Friday night, when the Reading Royals visit WesBanco Arena.