NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WANE) – Brandon Hawkins netted the first hat trick in the Kelly Cup Finals in 14 years and the Komets opened the best-of-five series with a resounding 7-2 victory over the South Carolina Stingrays in game one at the Carolina Ice Palace on Friday night.
The Komets struck first as Marcus McIvor tallied his first goal of the playoffs 10:26 into the first period to give the Komets a 1-0 lead. Less than a minute later Brandon Hawkins found the net for his third goal of the postseason, staking the Komets to a 2-0 lead heading into the second frame.
The Komets needed only 3:14 to add to their lead in the second period, with Oliver Cooper scoring a shorthanded goal for his fourth goal of the postseason, making it a 3-0 game.
Caleb Herbert would score on the powerplay to get the Stingrays on the board with 11:49 off the clock in the second period.
The Komets would get back to a three-goal lead just three minutes later when Brandon Hawkins would tally his second goal of the night on a powerplay to make it 4-1. Then, with 12 seconds left in the second period, Anthony Nellis scored his sixth goal of the playoffs to give Fort Wayne a 5-1 lead heading into the third period.
Just under five minutes in to the third period Hawkins would find the net to make it 6-1 and record the first hat trick in the Kelly Cup Finals since 2007.
Komets captain A.J. Jenks would add his fourth goal of the postseason to give the Komets a 7-1 lead with just over 10 minutes to play in the third. Former Komet Max Gottlieb would net a goal to cut Fort Wayne’s lead to 7-2,
Dylan Ferguson stopped 25-of-27 shots in goal for the Komets.
Game two is set for Sunday at 6:05 p.m. in North Charleston,.