• Bill Althaus: King's hit sets tone for victory

  • On April 19, 1775 the “shot heard round the world,” set the stage for the battle for Independence and the beginning of the Revolutionary War.

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  • On April 19, 1775 the “shot heard 'round the world,” set the stage for the battle for Independence and the beginning of the Revolutionary War.
    On April 5, 2013, Colt King delivered the new “shot heard 'round the CHL world,” as he sent Rapid City's Garrett Gruenke flying into Lexington County with a forearm to the chest that set the stage for a new battle for Independence.
    A tougher-than-a-two-dollar steak Missouri Mavericks team roughed up a Rush squad that did the exact same thing to them three years ago in a playoff sweep of the first-year CHL team.
    “Oh my goodness, Colt set the tone for the game with that hit on (Gruenke),” said Mavericks rookie forward Kenton Miller, who had two goals and an assist to lead the Mavericks to a 4-2 victory that evened the best-of-seven playoff series at two games each. “You knew the game was on when Colt crushed him, I mean he just crushed him. That started everything, that got us all going – Colt was the man tonight.”
    King, who was an enforcer for the Rush when they won the CHL championship in 2009-2010, didn’t just make an impact on Gruenke.
    He made an impact on everyone on the ice who was not wearing Mavericks orange.
    “Kinger is amazing,” tough-guy defenseman Dave Pszenyczny said. “He can score, he can fight, he can dominate a game in so many ways. He put the hit on Gruenke, but everyone on the Rush felt it.
    “We picked up our cues from Kinger. He set the tone and we all followed.”
    The game featured no fisticuffs, but there were 46 minutes of penalties and the Mavericks scored two power-play goals (Miller and Kellan Tochkin).
    “Everyone saw Kinger's hit on Gruenke, but what impressed me was the way he cleared the puck when the net was open and it was still early in the game,” said goaltender Mike Clemente, who stopped 24 of 26 shots to pick up his first postseason victory. “Colt 45 just kept reloading and getting it done all night. He set the tone for one of the most physical games we've played this season.”
    The Mavericks team that dominated the Rush Friday night at the IEC was the team Hillman had been developing all season.
    “That was the team we've been working on, getting ready for the playoffs,” said Hillman, who rested some key players late in the regular season to have them fresh and healthy for the playoffs. “What you saw tonight was playoff hockey. You can't play like that 66 (regular) games, it's physically impossible. But you can do it in the playoffs. What you saw from Kinger tonight, well, that's why we wanted him on our side.
    “We remember what he did to us our first year. He set the stage, he was a difference maker tonight. It was just a different game when he was on the ice.”
    Page 2 of 2 - And how did the man of the hour feel about his performance?
    “I know this is the way Scott wanted us to play all season, and we're all disappointed we were so up and down, up and down,” King said, referring to the regular season. “I did my job tonight.
    “I did what this team brought me in here to do, and everyone did their job tonight, too. This was one of those great games where everyone on the ice contributed in one way or another. And it feels so good to be a part of a team that plays like we did tonight.
    “We have another must-win game tomorrow, and we'll be ready. I don't care if I score a goal this entire series if we find a way to get four wins. Winning is all I care about.”

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