Josh Leivo, Kitchener Rangers blow out London in Game 3: OHL post-game questions

While the Toronto Maple Leafs were beating the New York Rangers, Leafs prospect Josh Leivo had a big night for the OHL Rangers, notching four points on a testy night to help the Kitchener Rangers drub London for their most important win of the season. On with the post-game questions:

Western Conference

Kitchener 6 London 2 (Knights lead 2-1) — How will Kitchener perform on Wednesday in a less urgent situation? The Rangers, from John Gibson in goal out, had their finest hour of the playoffs, largely keeping London's attackers to one-and-done while converting on 4-of-10 power plays, including three of their first four. With a two-game series deficit, they had to win, while perhaps it was unavoidable for London to slacken slightly.

The Rangers, who led 5-0 by the middle of the second period, have been close to equal to or better than London in 8-of-9 periods through three games. After a night where every piston seemed to be firing — NHL draft picks Leivo, Frank Corrado, Radek Faksa, Matia Marcantuoni and Ryan Murphy each scored, while Tobias Rieder had three assists — there is more basis to believe they can beat London again. The victory snapped a string of six consecutive post-season losses to Knights, beginning with Game 1 of last season's conference final.

The only blight on the Rangers' evening (didn't type night there, you're welcome, Kitchener) was that wing Brent Pedersen has shaken up after a heavy check from London's Nikita Zadorov in the first period. Pedersen did not return.

What response will Knights goalie Anthony Stolarz, who was yanked after Kitchener scored on four of its first 20 shots, have in Game 4? The loss wasn't on Stolarz by any stretch of the imagination. The goals against him included one where Kitchener's Josh Sterk was totally unmarked while setting up outside the crease. Stolarz made a solid sliding save on the third Rangers goal late in the first period, only to have backchecking defenceman Dakota Mermis knock him out of the crease and leave Marcantuoni, who had beat London's Seth Griffith into the zone, with 24 square feet of gaping net.

Stolarz had been having an excellent playoff. It's just that this is the 18-year-old's his first spot of adversity, plus he's probably not looking so invincible to Kitchener shooters. For what it's worth, he's now 0-2 as the Knights' starter at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium. London won both times when the waived Kevin Bailie started for hem at the Aud.

How did Ryan Murphy affect play in a way that was not reflected in the stats? London seemed to shade toward Murphy on the penalty kill, at least early in the game, to keep the Kitchener star from getting a shot off. The Knights got burned when that opened space for Leivo, who was playing in front of a gaggle of Toronto scouts, scored from the top of the circle 4:53 into the contest.

Will London overage Tyler Ferry be on defence or the wing in Game 4 on Wednesday? That is a roundabout way of wondering if Knights defenceman Tommy Hughes will be suspended after getting a slew-footing major/game misconduct in the final minutes.

Update: Hughes is suspended for Game 3 on Wednesday.

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet. Please address any questions, comments or concerns to

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