PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE -- Give Ryan Marshall a pen and paper and ask him to author a dream farewell to his junior hockey career and it's unlikely the Ste. Rose du Lac product could have scripted it any more perfectly.
All that said, the Portage Terriers and their faithful aren't too fond of how this story is unfolding.
Playing in front of about 20 to 30 friends and family, the 20-year-old Marshall scored twice for the Humboldt Broncos in a 2-1 win over the Terriers at the Portage Credit Union Centre that gives the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League champions a 3-0 stranglehold on the ANAVET Cup series. Game 4 goes tonight, again in Portage.
"All these people support me a lot and I appreciate it very much. It's good to have a good game in front of them," said Marshall. "It's really nice to see them. I haven't seen them for a while."
Here's the bad news for the Terriers: The 20-year-old Marshall, who is thriving as his junior hockey days are winding down, expects even more of his clan in Portage on Wednesday. And a guy who has a goal in all three games of the ANAVET Cup -- and four in total -- would kill to end the series in four games en route to the RBC Cup in Humboldt next month.
"You know, once we finished our league (playoffs) it hit me hard that I'm a 20-year-old and this is my last year of junior," said Marshall. "We're hosts (of the RBC Cup) this year and I just want to make it a good last year. I'm using that as motivation to put the puck in the net and things are going my way."
Marshall is one of four Manitobans on the Broncos roster, along with John Lawrence of Newdale, Matt Glowa of Winnipeg and Thompson's Mathew Backhouse.
"All the Manitoba guys have played extremely well and Ryan has been one of our most consistent players in the playoffs and to see him score that goal in front of a bunch of family and friends is huge," said Broncos head coach Dean Brockman. "He's a pretty good player, he's probably the most underrated player in our league and he deserves everything he gets."
The Broncos, continuing a trend that has been one of the keys to the series, lead 1-0 after the first period when Marshall scored less than five minutes in on the power play. Humboldt has outscored the Terriers 7-0 in the first period through the first three games.
But the Terriers rallied in the second when Mike Gemmill's howitzer beat Matt Hrynkiw to even the score. That set up Marshall's second, and the dramatic winner, when he backhanded a shot over Adam Iwan at the 9:31 mark of the third.
The Terriers served up their most complete game of the series, but critical in the loss were the play of their special teams: Not only did Humboldt score with the man advantage, they also killed off two five-on-three Portage power plays
"It was our best effort of the series," said Terriers GM and head coach Blake Spiller. "Our power play didn't really get us out of things in the second period when we could have got a lead there. We had a couple opportunities there... in the end you get a couple five-on-threes and you'd like to see at least one go in because it could have been the difference in the game.
"Our goal all along has been to get better and we've definitely got better. (Wednesday) we'll try to get going early like we did tonight. We've had really good jump all three games and just couldn't find a way to get a lead. It'd be nice for us to get a lead in this series and then see what happens."
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