Despite a pair of goals by rookie Stanislav Lascek, the Johnstown Chiefs dropped their exhibition opener, losing 5-4 to the Wheeling Nailers at WesBanco Arena on Friday night.

“I thought it was great that we were able to hang in there,” Chiefs coach Frank Anzalone said. “We only had three lines. They had four. Randy Rowe didn’t play because of an injury. Our guys battled. Some of our rookies played well. Some of the goals our second-year goalies gave up we’d like to work on, but they also battled and made some really good saves.”

The Chiefs also had goals by Radek Smolenak and Maxime Boisclair.

Goalie Morgan Cey stopped 12 of 16 shots, and Gerald Coleman had nine saves on 10 shots.

The Nailers won on Bo Cheesman’s goal with 47 seconds left in the third period.

Cheesman found open ice on the right side, took a pass from Eric Sonnenberg and one-timed it past Coleman, who had been perfect up to that point.

“You don’t want to lose a game with 45 or 50 seconds left,” Anzalone said. “It was a goal we’d like to have back. They scored an opportunistic goal at the end before we could get to the 4-on-4. When you lose a game like that, you feel (bad). But overall it was a good game.”

Wheeling opened the scoring just 1:05 into the first period as Kurtis McLean scored on a backhand shot over Cey’s glove.

Just 1:02 later, the Chiefs evened the score as Lascek fired a wrist shot past Wheeling’s Andy Franck for a power-play goal.

Wheeling took a 2-1 lead at 19:28 of the first when Ryan Moren ripped a wrist shot from the top of the right circle past Cey.

Lascek scored his second goal of the game as P.J. Atherton fed him a one-time pass at the top of the slot.

Rowe, who scored 27 regular-season goals last year, probably will miss tonight’s home exhibition against the Nailers.

“It’s nothing serious. It’s a nagging thing. He has to rest it,” Anzalone said of the injury.

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