DIVING SAVE - From right

Former Rebels netminder gets his revenge

Trevor Martin, goalie for the Calgary Hitmen, shines in Wednesday’s bout

Calgary Hitmen netminder, Trevor Martin, wasn’t thinking about anything other than getting the win for his new club on Wednesday night in Calgary. Nevermind the fact that he was facing off against the Red Deer Rebels for the first time since they released him in October this year. Or the fact that in the months since leaving the Rebels, he has played for teams in three different provinces.

For some players, the prospect of gaining bragging rights over old friends and former teammates or even the idea of getting a sort of ‘revenge’ on the team that let you go can provide an extra source of motivation.

But the newest member of the Calgary Hitmen wasn’t worried about any of that as he took to the ice against his former team at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Wednesday.

In fact, the former Rebels backup was just as calm, cool and collected as ever as he shut down his former team, stopping all but one of the 23 shots they directed his way to help the Hitmen to a 4-1 victory.

“At the end of the day you’ve just got to think of it as just another game and another team,” said Martin after the game.

“It’s just another puck, another rink. It’s just a game and you want to be just as motivated against any other team to try to get the win for the boys.”

Still, the Androssan, Alberta product was all smiles, though maybe a little emotional, when he made his way across the hallway between the home and visiting dressing rooms at the Saddledome after the game to say hello to his former team.

When he got there, ‘Marty’ was given a hero’s welcome. Rebels’ Head Coach and GM Brent Sutter shook his hand and pulled him in for a hug, trainer Dave ‘Radar’ Horning made idle conversation in his usual, cheerful style and his old teammates chatted and joked with the veteran about his journey since October.

It was a fitting welcome back to the WHL for a young man that served as a steady and reliable backup to Rylan Toth during last season’s playoff run and Memorial Cup appearance.

During his time with Red Deer last season, Martin was about as solid as a backup gets. In 38 games he posted a .911 save percentage and memorably filled in for an injured Toth through the first round of playoffs against Calgary, helping the Rebs topple their provincial rivals in five games.

Despite that solid play, the 20-year-old was released by the Rebels in mid-October this season after the emergence of 18-year-old goalie Riley Lamb as the club’s number one goalie in training camp. At the time, Sutter said, it just didn’t make sense for the team to use an overage slot on a backup goalie.

Since then, Martin has been on quite the journey.

Shortly after leaving the Rebels, he signed on with the Kelowna Warriors of the B.C. Hockey League before travelling across the country for a brief stint with the Baie-Comeau Drakkar of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

In five games with the Drakkar, he posted a 2-2 record with a 3.99 goals against average and a .868 save percentage and was eventually released by the club.

Finally, Martin landed back in the WHL when the Calgary Hitmen added him to their roster on Jan. 10th to replace starting goalie Cody Porter, who is out of the lineup indefinitely with an upper-body injury.

Through his first four games with Calgary, the persistent goalie has posted a 3-1 record, recording a 3.71 GAA and a .853 SAV%.

With his first few games in the rear-view mirror, Martin said he’s happy to be back in the ‘Dub with a new team.

“We’ve got a great group of guys. We’re having fun, we’re keeping it loose. Not too loose, you know, but I think we’re rolling right now. We’ve got a lot of hockey left and we’ve just got to continue to play our game.”

As for the win over the Rebels, he wasn’t about to take any credit away from his Hitmen teammates.

“I thought the guys played extremely well. I barely had to do anything out there.”

The Rebels will have to wait a little while for a shot at revenge on their former teammate; Martin and the Hitmen don’t roll into Red Deer until Feb. 25th. Until then the Rebels will have to wait and improve. They’re back in action on Friday night for the first of a five game homestand when the Prince Albert Raiders come to town. Puck drop on that game is at 7 p.m. at the ENMAX Centrium.

zcormier@reddeerexpress.com