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Hawkins hat trick powers Komets to Game 1 win

Saturday, June 26th
Hawkins hat trick powers Komets to Game 1 win

Brandon Hawkins notched a hat trick to lead the Fort Wayne Komets to a 7-2 win over the South Carolina Stingrays in Game 1 of the 2021 Kelly Cup Finals on Friday at the Carolina Ice Palace.

The seven goals for Fort Wayne are tied for the second most in a single-game in Riley/Kelly Cup Finals history

Box Score

Watch Game 1 Highlights

Fort Wayne opened up a 2-0 lead after one period of play. Marcus McIvor opened the scoring 10:26 into the contest as his shot beat Hunter Shepard from the top right-wing circle for the first goal of his professional career, spanning 27 regular-season games and four in the Kelly Cup Playoffs. Hawkins doubled the Komets’ lead just 53 seconds later when he one-timed a shot past Shepard from the right post for his third goal of the postseason.

The special teams for both squads added the next three goals during the middle period. Oliver Cooper notched a shorthanded goal 3:14 into the second period to give Fort Wayne a three-goal advantage, while a power-play goal from Caleb Herbert at the 11:49 mark put South Carolina on the board for the first time in the series. However, Hawkins added his second goal of the night at 14:29 to restore the Komets’ three-goal lead.

Anthony Nellis added one more goal to Fort Wayne’s lead before the second period ended, putting home his playoff-leading sixth goal at the 19:48 mark to make it 5-1.

Hawkins completed his hat trick 4:42 into the final period, marking the 14th hat trick in Riley/Kelly Cup Finals history, and the first since Idaho’s Greg Rallo tallied three times in Game 2 of the 2007 Kelly Cup Finals against Dayton.

A.J. Jenks scored his fourth goal of the playoffs at 9:16 of the third period to make it 7-1 and South Carolina’s Max Gottlieb set the final with a power-play tally at 13:35.

Game 2 of the series is set for Sunday at the Carolina Ice Palace with the opening face-off at 6:05 p.m. ET.

2021 Kelly Cup Finals

Game 1 – FORT WAYNE 7 at South Carolina 2Game 2 – Sunday, June 27 at 6:05 p.m. ET at Carolina Ice Palace in North Charleston, South CarolinaGame 3 – Wednesday, June 30 at 7:30 p.m. ET at Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, IndianaGame 4 – Friday, July 2 at 8:00 p.m. ET at Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Indiana (If Necessary)Game 5 – Saturday, July 3 at 7:30 p.m. ET at Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Indiana (If Necessary)

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