With their season on the line, the Komets will be without one of their better players.
Forward Sean OConnor has been suspended at least one game for his open-ice hit on Rapid City forward Ryan Menei during the Rushs 4-3 victory Saturday night at Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.
The CHL-champion Rush leads the best-of-five Turner Conference semifinals 2-0 with Game 3 Wednesday at Memorial Coliseum.
During the first period, OConnor got off the bench and, at the blue line, leveled Menei, who had a hat trick in Game 1 and didnt return to the game. OConnor was suspended for violating Rule 48, which protects against lateral/blindside hits that result in injury.
The duration of OConnors suspension is contingent upon the still-pending medical report of Meneis head injury, even though referee Marc-Andre Lavoie didnt assess a penalty.
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 OConnor 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.
OConnor, who couldnt be reached for comment, has four assists in five playoff games. Menei has three goals and four points in five games. Reaney has five goals and nine points in five games.
The Komets, who have won the last three IHL titles, will have to play one man short of a full lineup Wednesday because of the suspension, and Franke promised there would be changes.
That will likely include 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 top of his foot in Game 1, a 5-2 loss, but still scored Saturday, will be in the lineup.