Tanner Kero scored a hat trick and Ivan Kulbakov made a career-high 40 saves as the Utica Comets dominated the Cleveland Monsters during a 5-1 victory on Sunday at Quicken Loans Arena.
Picking up where they left off a day before, the Comets wasted no time getting on the board in the first period. Generating a solid forecheck, Utica came up with a takeaway that allowed Kole Lind to setup Cam Darcy in front of the net for a one-time finish. Nine minutes later and on a five-minute power play, Brendan Gaunce threw a backdoor pass to Kero, who had an open net to finish into for his 11th of the year.
The Monsters cut the Comets’ lead in half early in the second period after Zac Dalpe ripped a low-slot one-timer off the bottom of the crossbar and in. Less than two minutes later, Utica went back ahead by two, courtesy of Vincent Arseneau’s breakaway finish, marking the fifth goal in five games for the Utica forward.
Utica continued to roll into the third period and showed no intention of slowing down. Kero earned his second of the night at 2:31 on a re-direct from a Colton Saucerman shot and gave the visitors a 4-1 lead. While killing a penalty late in the third, Cleveland pulled their goalie for an extra attacker, but it was the Comets who capitalized. Kero finished off the hat trick after Reid Boucher chased a dump in and centered the puck to a streaking Kero who angled it in.
The Comets stay on the road to faceoff against the Toronto Marlies Wednesday night. Puck drop at the Coca-Cola Coliseum is at 7 p.m.