Three seconds before the buzzer sounded to signal the end of the first quarter, Scott Ranger completed the hat-trick.
At halftime, the versatile righty was on pace to match the Calgary Roughnecks' franchise record with eight goals in a single outing.
In the third quarter, Ranger's offensive shooting spree was rewarded with a trip to ... defence?
"Yeah, I was a little bit surprised, but that's the way it goes," he shrugged. "When you lose four defensive guys, somebody's gotta go back."
With Riggers defenders Scott Carnegie, Kyle Couling, Mike Kilby and Jeff Shattler all sent to the showers early after fists flew between the Roughnecks and host Edmonton Rush at the start of the second half, bench boss Troy Cordingley tapped Ranger on the shoulder and directed him to the other gate.
Score the experiment a success.
"What I saw was a guy that can pressure the ball really well," Cordingley said. "He did not look out of place."
Fending off attackers is no way to defend a team scoring title, but Ranger isn't complaining. After leading the Riggers with 27 tallies and 39 assists last season, the 25-year-old has been operating in the shadow of offensive stars Josh Sanderson, Tracey Kelusky and Dane Dobbie, who've each cracked the 50-point plateau.
Through nine outings, Ranger's stat line reads: 9 GP, 11 G, 23 A, 34 P. But he insists the only number he worries about is 7-2, the Roughnecks' win-loss record.
"It was a bit of a struggle there for the first half of the season, but all that matters is the two points at the end of the night. That's how a complete offence works" Ranger said. "As long as we win, I don't care if I score at all."
Despite spending the entire third quarter trying to prevent goals rather than score his own -- fellow forward Kaleb Toth subbed in on the back-end in the final frame -- Ranger finished with a season-high four tallies and six helpers at Rexall Place.
More importantly, Cordingley said, were signs of the swagger he showed.
"I think he was just a little bit snakebitten prior to last weekend," Cordingley said. "He's had lot of great opportunities, and he just finally broke through last week ...
"The one thing I noticed is he was shooting with confidence. (His first goal) was a shot from outside, and it was a rifle. I don't care what goalie in this league was in net, nobody was going to stop it. From there, he had a bounce in his step."