But Wednesday's clash between the Kitchener Rangers and Sarnia Sting had all the feel of a playoff affair.
The Ontario Hockey League western conference foes went toe-to-toe at the Progressive Auto Sales Arena, taking a 3-3 tie all the way to a shootout before Sarnia forward Jordan Ernst went high on Rangers goalie Mario Culina to end the emotional contest.
The result was really secondary.
This one was all about setting a tone since the third seeded Sting and second place Rangers seem to be on a collision course in the playoffs, which begin next week.
"You can see that they don't like each other," said Sarnia coach Derian Hatcher. "The emotions are riled up to say the least."