Connor Rankin finished Friday night's game with a goal, an assist and three stitches in his upper lip.
His efforts helped the Tri-City Americans to a 7-2 victory in the opening game of the first round of the Western Hockey League playoffs against Everett, so all is good.
"It's playoff hockey," Rankin said. "Every single guy who plays hockey knows it gets tougher and tougher each game. No matter if you get stitches, you see a lot of guys get bumps and bruises, and you just love the game so much you just get right back out there."
The Americans, who won Game 2 by a score of 3-1 on Saturday, continue their series against the Silvertips tonight and Wednesday at Comcast Arena in Everett.
Rankin's dedication to the game earned him a place on the top line with Brendan Shinnimin and Adam Hughesman at the start of the season. He had 12 goals and 18 assists before Christmas, reaping the benefits of skating with two of the top scorers in the league.
"He is a great kid and very versatile," said Hughesman, who had 50 goals and 116 point during the regular season. "He can play first line or third line. I think that's why the scouts like him so much. He's very skilled and good with the body."
Rankin's run on the top line ended at the holiday break after he broke his thumb against Seattle in the final game before Christmas. The second-year forward from North Vancouver, British Columbia, missed 10 games.
"It's never fun getting injured," Rankin said. "It's probably the worst thing that can happen in hockey. You can't really do anything about it. I tried to handle it the best I could. It was very tough watching the games from the stands, that's for sure. I don't like sitting out. I like to be involved, whether it's scoring or blocking shots."
Upon his return, Rankin was shuffled between lines before landing on the third line. Over the last 27 games of the regular season, he had six goals and three assists.
"No matter where I get put, I try to do my best," Rankin said. "There are so many different roles on our team. You've got Shinny and Holly (Patrick Holland) and Hughey, they are three of the best players in the league and they can score a lot of goals. I try to find a role that will help the team more than it will help me."
Even if it means getting physical, which some players try to avoid.
"I love that part of the game," Rankin said. "It creates energy for the team. It can really spark a team and change a game."
Hughesman appreciates his teammates who are willing to mix it up.
"He's a big kid, he's got a lot of muscle and he can skate," Hughesman said. "He's dedicated. There's not much more we can ask of him. He plays tough, jumps right into (the physical play) and doesn't' shy away from it. We really appreciate that from him. We need that from him."
With the rough and tumble style of play Everett has played the first two games of the series, the Americans will need Rankin, and others, to answer the call.
"Everett is a really tough stadium to play in and their fans are real supportive of their team," Rankin said. "They have a good team. They will come out full guns blazing and we've got to come out with that ourselves."