A four-point effort from Joshua Leivo led the Kitchener Rangers to a 6-2 win over the London Knights in Game 3 of their Western Conference Semifinal series on Monday night. Leivo scored once and added three assists, and was named the contest’s first star. Tobias Rieder recorded three assists in the wins, while Josh Sterk, Matia Marcantuoni and Frank Corrado each notched their first goals of the postseason for the Rangers. The Knights lead the best-of-seven series 2-1.
The Rangers opened the scoring, taking advantage of an early power play opportunity. Joshua Leivo collected a crisp cross-ice pass from Tobias Rieder and snapped a hard shot just under the crossbar, beating London starter Anthony Stolarz for his third of the postseason. Captain Ryan Murphy also collected an assist on the play at 4:53.
Less than two minutes later, sophomore forward Josh Sterk’s first of the playoffs gave Kitchener a two-goal cushion. Leivo set up the tally, carrying the puck behind the net before moving it to the Georgetown, ON native. Sterk fired a high shot past Stolarz for his first career playoff marker, with a second assist from rearguard Evan McEneny.
Matia Marcantuoni’s first goal of the postseason pushed the Rangers to a 3-0 lead with 18 seconds remaining in the first period. Leivo ignited the play, carrying the puck into Knights territory before moving it to Rieder. His shot was turned aside by Stolarz, but the netminder collided with a teammate and the rebound was corralled by Marcantuoni and shot into a wide open net.
The Rangers led shots on goal 17-11 after the opening 20 minutes of play.
Kitchener continued to press early in the second period, scoring their second power play marker of the game just past the four minute mark. The Rangers controlled the puck off the faceoff in the Knights zone and quickly moved it to rearguard Frank Corrado just inside the blueline. The Vancouver Canucks prospect launched a point shot past a screened Stolarz to record his first of the postseason. Both McEneny and Marcantuoni collected their second point of the night with assists on the play.
The Knights made a goaltending change following Corrado’s goal, sending Jake Patterson to the crease in relief of Stolarz after the Philadelphia Flyers prospect allowed four goals on 20 shots.
Captain Ryan Murphy quickly added to the Rangers’ lead, capitalizing on a long 5-on-3 power play opportunity. The Carolina Hurricanes prospect snuck a long low shot past the paddle of Patterson, picking up his third goal of the playoffs. All three of the blueliner’s goals in the 2013 postseason have come on the power play. Leivo collected his fourth point of the contest with a helper on the goal. The second assist was credited to Corrado.
The Knights got on the board with 6:26 remaining in the second period, generating a flurry of activity at the Rangers net. Draft eligible forward Bo Horvat eventually jumped on a rebound and shovelled it past the left pad of Rangers starter John Gibson for his fifth of the playoffs. Assisting on the play were Chris Tierney and Max Domi.
With just 15 seconds remaining in the period, London cut further into Kitchener’s lead with a 5-on-3 power play goal. Seth Griffith threaded a pass to Alex Broadhurst beside the net, and he lifted the puck over the pad of Gibson for his fifth of the postseason. Domi earned his second helper of the night on the goal, which narrowed the Rangers’ lead to 5-2 at the second intermission.
The Knights out-shot Kitchener 17-8 in the middle frame.
Radek Faksa’s first goal of the Western Conference Semifinal restored Kitchener’s four goal advantage less than a minute and a half into the third period. With the Rangers playing with the man-advantage, the Czech-born centre collected the puck at the top of the London crease and hammered it under Patterson. Faksa’s power-play goal was his fourth of the season, assisted by Matt Puempel and Rieder.
The Rangers led shots on goal 13-10 in the final frame, but the Knights finished with a 39-38 overall advantage on the shot clock. Gibson made 37 saves in his fifth win of the postseason.
London leads the best-of-seven Western Conference Semifinal series 2-1. Game 4 is Wednesday evening at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium.
1. KIT J. Leivo, (3) (T. Rieder, R. Murphy), 4:53 (PP)
1. KIT J. Sterk, (1) (J. Leivo, E. McEneny), 6:05
1. KIT M. Marcantuoni, (1) (T. Rieder, J. Leivo), 18:42
2. KIT F. Corrado, (1) (E. McEneny, M. Marcantuoni), 4:14 (PP)
2. KIT R. Murphy, (3) (J. Leivo, F. Corrado), 6:52 (PP)
2. LDN B. Horvat, (5) (C. Tierney, M. Domi), 13:34
2. LDN A. Broadhurst, (5) (S. Griffith, M. Domi), 19:54 (PP)
3. KIT R. Faksa, (4) (M. Puempel, T. Rieder), 1:29 (PP)
1. KIT – 17 Joshua Leivo
2. KIT – 9 Tobias Rieder
3. KIT – 91 Matia Marcantuoni
Game 4 (Home Game F) of the series is Wednesday, April 10 at 7:00pm. Tickets for Games 4 are on sale now. Playoff tickets may be purchased by phone at 519-578-1570 or 1-800-265-8977, via the internet or in person at The Aud Box Office or Centre in the Square.
Adult (13+): $23.50/Round 2
Child (3-12): $20.00/Round 2
No refunds or exchanges on playoff purchases. Limit of 6 tickets per game.