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Rush Receive Reinforcements from Tucson

October 4, 2019 - ECHL (ECHL) - Rapid City Rush News Release

(RAPID CITY, SD) - The Rapid City Rush, proud ECHL affiliate of the NHL's Arizona Coyotes, announced today that the Tucson Roadrunners, AHL affiliate of the Rush, have sent ten players to the Rush for Training Camp 2019.

Earlier this week, forwards Dexter Dancs, Tyler Poulsen, Peter Quenneville, and Alex Rauter, and defenseman Brandon Fehd were released by the Roadrunners from their try-out agreements. Additionally, the Roadrunners assigned forwards Giovanni Fiore and Keeghan Howdeshell, defensemen Dane Birks and Jalen Smereck, and goaltender Merrick Madsen to the Rush.

All ten players will be available part of the free "Black and White Intrasquad Game" on Saturday, October 5th, at 6 p.m. MST. The rosters for the game will be announced later today.

Fiore joins the Rush after spending the entirety of last season at the AHL level, split between the San Diego Gulls and Tucson Roadrunners. Entering his third season as a professional, the native of Laval, Quebec comes to the Black Hills with 118 AHL games to his credit with 48 total points (28g-20ast), and one NHL appearance with the Ducks at the start of the 2017-18 season. Prior to playing professionally, Fiore played five seasons in the QMJHL, earning 224 points in 281 games and 2017 QMJHL First All-Star Team honors.

Howdeshell enters his first season of professional hockey following the conclusion of his junior career. The 6'1", 205-pound forward played with the OHL's Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds and earned career totals of 62 goals, 51 assists, 113 points, and a +53 rating in 127 games. Prior to his OHL experience, the Brighton, Michigan native played in the USHL with the Muskegon Lumberjacks and the United States National Team Development Program for three seasons. With Team USA, he won a bronze medal at the 2016 U-18 World Junior Championships.

Birks was traded to the Arizona Coyotes earlier this offseason as part of the transaction involving Phil Kessel from the Pittsburgh Penguins. The 6'2", 201-pound blue liner skated in 65 games last season with the Wheeling Nailers, registering a goal and 13 assists for 14 points, while also appearing in one game with the AHL's Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins. Prior to turning professional, the Merrit, British Columbia native played four seasons of NCAA hockey at Michigan Tech with current Rush defenseman Chris Leibinger, and earned 30 points in 117 games while winning two WCHA Championships. He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2013 NHL Draft (6th Rd-#164).

Smereck joins the Rush following an All-Star campaign at the ECHL level. The 6'0", 190-pound blue-liner earned an assist in 16 games with the Tucson Roadrunners in the AHL, but spent the majority of last season with the Norfolk Admirals. In Virginia, Smereck tabulated 5 goals, 28 assists, and 33 points in 44 games, earning himself a spot at the 2019 ECHL All-Star Game. Smereck finished as the Eastern Conference All-Stars leader with 3 goals, 5 points, and a +5 rating. Prior to playing professionally, the Detroit, Michigan native played two seasons in the OHL with the Oshawa Generals and Flint Firebirds, earning 24 goals, 80 assists, and 104 points in 169 games.

Madsen heads to the Rush after splitting his first professional season last year with the Tucson Roadrunners and Norfolk Admirals. The 6'5", 190-pound back-stopper played 11 games in both Norfolk and Tucson, compiling a 4-6-1 record with a 3.40 GAA and .905 SV% with the Admirals, and a 5-3-0 record, 2.70 GAA, and .889 SV% with the Roadrunners. Prior to turning professionally, the native of Acton, California enjoyed a stellar four year career at Harvard University in the NCAA, compiling a lifetime record of 56-23-8, with 10 shutouts, a 2.12 GAA, and .924 SV%, finishing his career with the Crimson third all-time in wins in school history. As a junior, Madsen registered a 28-6-2- record in 36 games with 3 shutouts, a 2.11 GAA, and .923 SV%. For his efforts, he was named to the All-Ivy League First Team and ECAC Third All-Star Team, was ECAC Champion and Tournament MVP, and finished as a finalist for the Mike Richter award, presented to the most outstanding goaltender in the NCAA. He was drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2013 NHL Draft (6th Rd-#162).

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