CINCINNATI -- It's just one game.

Baret Ehgoetz, Jimmy Kilpatrick and Brian O'Hanley each scored two goals to lead Cincinnati past South Carolina, 6-1, on Tuesday night in Game 1 of the ECHL American Conference quarterfinals before 1,080 at U.S. Bank Arena.

The Cyclones lead the best-of-five series, 1-0, and face the Stingrays in Game 2 today at U.S. Bank Arena beginning at 7:30 p.m.

It is the third straight year the Stingrays have started the Kelly Cup playoffs with a loss. The Stingrays opened the 2008 and 2009 Kelly Cup playoffs with losses to Augusta and Charlotte, respectively.

The Stingrays looked like a team ready to defend its 2009 Kelly Cup title for the first 30 minutes of the game, outshooting the Cyclones, 17-9, at one point in the second period.

"I thought we came out a little jittery in the first period, but it was still a pretty solid period for us," said South

Carolina coach Cail MacLean. "The score was 1-1 midway through the second period and we were all over them. We created a ton of chances, but we just couldn't get that goal to get us going."

Michael Dubuc gave the Stingrays an early 1-0 lead with his power-play goal in the first period.

Ehgoetz tied the game at 1-1 at with 9:19 left in the opening period.

The Cyclones, who captured the 2008 Kelly Cup title, scored six unanswered goals, including five over the final 27 minutes, in the victory.

"We just did a lot of uncharacteristic things for us from the middle of the second period on," MacLean said. "Our best players were not our best players tonight. I can only think of a handful of guys who played well. We tried to push the puck through the middle of the ice and it hurt us. We made some very poor decisions with the puck in the second half of the game."

The Cyclones erupted for three goals in the second period to grab a 4-1 lead after 40 minutes.

Kilpatrick scored twice in the second period, while defenseman O'Hanley added a goal in for the Cyclones.

The Cyclones added two goals from Ehgoetz and O'Hanley in the third period.

Cincinnati rookie goalie Jeremy Smith collected his first playoff victory, making 31 saves on 32 shots.

"Give Cincinnati credit, they took advantage of their chances when they got them," MacLean said. "We just need to come out in Game 2 and execute our game plan and make better decisions with the puck."

First Period: 1. SC, Dubuc 1 (Kashirsky, Kroll), 4:07. 2. C, Ehgoetz 1 (Benson, Aubin), 11:41. Penalties: Kilpatrick, C (hooking), 3:04; Godfrey, SC (slashing), 5:15.

Second Period: 3. C, Kilpatrick 1 (Peirce, Benson), 13:45. 4. C, O'Hanley 1 (Benson, Ehgoetz), 15:27. 5. C, Kilpatrick 2 (O'Hanley, Sproat), 17:36. Penalties: No penalties.

Third Period: 6. C, Ehgoetz 2 (Sheahan), 7:38. 7. C, O'Hanley 2 (Sproat, Ortiz), 19:33. Penalties: Yeo, SC (roughing), 3:03; McKenzie, C (roughing), 3:03; Sproat, C (tripping), 5:28; Carbery, SC (game misconduct, 10-minute misconduct), 20:00; Kiser, SC (10-minute misconduct), 20:00; Aubin, C (10-minute misconduct), 20:00; Benson, C (game misconduct, 10-minute misconduct), 20:00.

Shots on Goal: Stingrays 11-12-9-32; Cincinnati: 8-10-7-25. Penalties: Stingrays 4-24; Cincinnati 5-26. Power Play: Stingrays 1 for 2; Cincinnati 0 for 1. Goalies: Stingrays - Todd Ford (0-1-0) 25 shots, 19 saves. Cincinnati - Jeremy Smith (1-0-0) 32 shots, 31 saves. Att: 1,080.