With the Komets' season on the line, they will be without one of their better players.
Forward Sean O'Connor has been suspended at least one game for his open-ice hit on the Rapid City's Ryan Menei during the Rush's 4-3 victory Saturday night at Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.
The CHL-champion Rush lead the best-of-five Turner Conference semifinals 2-0 with Game 3 Wednesday at Memorial Coliseum.
During the first period, O'Connor got off the bench and, at the blue line, leveled Menei, who had a hat trick in Game 1 and didn't return to the game. O'Connor was suspended for violating Rule 48, which protects against lateral/blindside hits that result in injury.
The duration of O'Connor's suspension is contingent upon Menei's still-pending medical report, even though referee Marc-Andre Lavoie didn't assess a penalty on the play.
"I thought it was a clean hit," Komets general manager David Franke said. "But because he had his back to him, this goes to the description of the rule. It is what it is."
The CHL has yet to rule on whether reigning Playoff MVP Les Reaney will be suspended for boarding O'Connor in the second period, an act that resulted in a major penalty.
"We expect some league discipline," Franke said, "because he traveled a great distance to plaster him against the glass."
O'Connor, who couldn't be reached for comment, has four assists in five playoff games. Menei, who might be done for the series, has three goals and four points in five games. Reaney has five goals and nine points in five games.
The Komets have to play one man short of a full lineup Wednesday because of the suspension, and Franke promised there would be lineup changes -- probably including the insertion of forward Tom Mele, who has yet to play a professional game since finishing his career at American International.
Forward Lincoln Kaleigh Schrock, who suffered a cut on the top of his foot in Game 1, a 5-2 loss, but still scored Saturday, will be in the lineup Wednesday. Defenseman Bobby Phillips, who hasn't played in the postseason because of a shoulder injury, won't be available, Franke said.