(RAPID CITY, SD) – The Rapid City Rush is pleased to announce two additional signings to the 2014-15 roster, bringing the total to nine players inked for next season. The Rush welcomes defenseman Brandon Martell to the Mt. Rushmore State for the first time, and also welcomes back Wayne Savage, the first goaltender to join the squad for next season.
“It’s great to get Wayne back this season after coming in at the end of last year and playing very well for us after a tremendous college career,” said Head Coach and GM Joe Ferras. “It’s also great to welcome Brandon to the Rush family after a great career at Ohio State and a solid rookie season with Kalamazoo in the ECHL. He will be a valuable addition to our defensive corps for the upcoming year.”
“I feel great about coming to the Rush organization and the CHL,” said Martell of his new journey to the Black Hills. “It was a tough decision, but my agent and I both thought it was a great place to be. I have always heard fantastic things about the team, as well as the Rapid City community. I’m very thankful for the opportunity and I look forward to going to training camp in October.”
Martell finished his rookie season with the Kalamazoo Wings in the ECHL last year. The 6’3”, 215 lb defenseman played in 53 games, scoring 4 goals along with 2 assists for 6 points, also finishing the season with 29 PIM. Martell spent 3 games in the season prior with the Wings as an amateur. A native of Andover, Minnesota, Martell played collegiately at Ohio State University in the NCAA, playing 62 games with the Buckeyes across four seasons prior to turning pro.
“My role on the ice is to be a ‘stay-at-home D-man’,” commented Martell on the style he brings to the game, as well as his role. “At the end of the day, I want to make a great first pass up to the forwards and provide a heavy shot from the point when I’m called upon to do so.”
“When you add size like Brandon’s to the defense, it’s a huge boost,” commented Ferras on Martell. “He takes pride in shutting down the opposition’s top line and brings his physical element the club and will be a great asset to our five on five as well as our penalty kill. He’s skates well and is a very good puck moving defensemen. With the speed and pace of the game you need your defensemen to make that crucial first pass out of the d-zone.”
“It feels great to be back in Rapid City,” said Savage on his return to the Black Hills. “I really enjoyed the city, the fans, and the team when I was here for the short amount of time that I was last season, so it feels great to be wanted back.”
After finishing up his college eligibility with his alma mater, the University of Prince Edward Island, last season, Savage returned to the professional ranks with the Rush, suiting up in a red R in net for five games in the regular season. He went 1-2-2 in his return to professional hockey, posting a 3.15 goals against average and an .886 save percentage. He played in Games 4 and 5 of the Rush’s first round playoff series against the Quad City Mallards, splitting both games while allowing 4 goals.
“I’m always trying to become a better player, and I was happy I contributed when I could last season,” said Savage on his brief time with the Rush last year. “When it comes down to it, you want to be able to move forward as well and help your team win a championship. With the players we have coming back this season, we have a legitimate chance to accomplish that. I’m here to contribute to that effort and help the team go as far as it can.”
“We’re very excited to have Wayne back with the Rush organization,” added Ferras on Savage’s return. “He’s the prototype of the new generation of goaltenders in hockey, standing 6’2” and 235 lbs. Savy moves extremely fast in the crease, has outstanding reflexes, and is an elite puck-handling goaltender. Last year, we were fortunate to have him join us at the end of his college career at UPEI, and he played outstanding in the limited time he was with our club. Having Wayne start the season with us, we are confident he will have a big year for us and we know his confidence will resonate throughout the locker room”.
Hailing from St. Thomas, Ontario, the 27 year old goaltender spent one full season as a professional three years ago, where he played 45 games as a rookie for the now-defunct Texas Brahmas in the CHL. In his rookie campaign, Savage racked up a 21-17-3 record, and chalked up a 3.04 goals against average, along with a stellar .905 save percentage. In recognition of his efforts that season, Savage was named as the goaltender of the the 2010-11 CHL All-Rookie Team. In between professional stints, he played collegiately in the CIS with the University of Prince Edward Island, playing 70 games with his alma mater.
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