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Absolute playoff craziness

RAPID CITY, S.D. -- This is the most fired up I've seen the Komets this season against a team other than Wichita.

They came out firing on all cylinders and commanded the play during the first eight minutes of the period. But they trail 1-0 late in the first period on a power-play goal by Les Reaney, who got behind the defense and took a cross-crease pass from Andrew Smale.

But that's not the story of the period. What is? The early hit by Fort Wayne's Sean O'Connor on Ryan Menei, who had a hat trick in the Rush's 5-3 victory in Game 1. Menei came across the blue line and O'Connor blasted him in the shoulder -- Menei's head was down -- and Menei hasn't come back.

The Rush's Scott Wray went after O'Connor, which was the right thing to do. O'Connor fought him, which was the right thing to do. You've got to back up that hit, and OC did his best.

Click here to see video. Go to the 2:27 mark to see it.

There have been a lot of post-whistle scrums. The Rush has been spraying ice on goaltender Nick Boucher. And Rush goalie Danny Battochio got hurt when there was a scrum for the puck in front of him.

This has just been an unbelievable period, and uncharacteristically feisty for the Komets.

The Rush are irate, saying O'Connor's hit was a shot to the head. I've looked at the video. I don't see that. It could fall under the criteria of it being a blind-side hit, but he hit his shoulder. Menei didn't have his head up. I'm getting the vibe from the league that this could be an iffy hit, but no one I trust seems to think it was crazy deliberate.

As Mickey Redmond would say, "This is no place for a nervous person."

Justin A. Cohn, pro sports coordinator for The Journal Gazette, has been covering the Fort Wayne Komets since 1997. His reporting includes game stories from home and away, features about the players and personalities associated with the Komets, plus coverage of issues affecting hockey at all levels. A native of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., Cohn graduated from Emory University in Atlanta. He can be reached at 260-461-8429 or by email at jcohn@jg.net.

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