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I felt the hit, lowered my shoulder.  With my face like flint, pads lowered into the force, I waited for the pushback. For the equal and opposite push that him hitting me and me hitting him would return, smashing us both into the corner boards.

Instead, I felt a falling sensation. Not the equal and opposite that I expected from a solid shoulder check. My vestibular sense had betrayed me. I’d misjudged his angle. I felt his shoulders graze and bump me on the wrong side as I writhed and twisted to see where I’d gone wrong.

Black. Ice. Nothing.