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Examiner
  • Clemente happy to return to Mavs

  • As rookie goaltender Mike Clemente skated off the ice Tuesday morning at the Independence Events Center, he was immediately greeted by a group of fans.

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  • As rookie goaltender Mike Clemente skated off the ice Tuesday morning at the Independence Events Center, he was immediately greeted by a group of fans.
    “We’re so glad you’re back,” one said as they others shook their heads in agreement after Clemente had been on loan to the AHL’s Springfield Falcons. “We need you back in the net.”
    Clemente sported an ear-to-ear grin, thanked them for their comments and joined his teammates in a post-skate workout session.
    Clemente, the CHL’s Rookie of the Month for October, had been recalled by Springfield on Nov. 1 because one of the Falcons’ goalies suffered a minor back injury.
    The youngster, who is 2-0-1 with a .910 save percentage and a 3.01 goals-against average in three games with the Mavericks, was thrilled to make the trip up to the AHL, but disappointed that he missed last Friday’s home opener.
    “It was all kind of bittersweet,” said Clemente, one of the most popular players in the Mavericks’ locker room. “All I heard about from the guys who were here last year and from our fans was how crazy this place gets for home games, and then I miss the home opener.
    “That’s the bad news. The good news is, that there are 32 more home games and I hope to be playing in a lot of them.”
    Clemente, who did not play in his recent stint at Springfield, participated in six games with the Falcons at the end of 2011-12 after completing his four-year career at Division I Brown University.
    At Springfield, Clemente went 2-1-0 with a .930 save percentage, a 1.99 goals-against average and a shutout. From 2008 to 2012 at Brown, Clemente posted a 32-54-14 record to go along with a .908 save percentage, a 3.03 goals-against average and three shutouts in 107 outings.
    The 22-year-old set a career-high at Brown with 12 wins his sophomore season.
    “His team didn’t have a lot of success, but he was a very good college goalie,” Mavericks coach Scott Hillman said. “We were so pleased he had the chance to be called back to Springfield, but we’re awfully happy to see him back in Independence.
    “He is a very good goaltender. The boys on the team really like him, and that’s important. If you have a goalie who is popular with his teammates, they’ll work that much harder for him. It was that way with Charlie (Effinger) for two years and with Robbie (Nolan) two years ago.
    “Once you get to know him, you’ll find out that he’ll remind you a lot of Charlie. He has that great work ethic, he’s a team guy first and he’s going to be great in the community.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Clemente is eager for his first start at home, and said his 2-0-1 record on the road gives him a world of confidence in his first CHL season.
    “It was great to get the CHL rookie goalie award and even better to win a couple of games,” Clemente said, “but I didn’t do any of that on my own. We have some great players and great teammates on this team and I want to thank them for helping me get off to a good start.
    “I’m excited about being a part of this franchise. We have a great coach, a great staff, a great venue and an amazing group of guys to play with.
    “I just hope Friday night (7:05 p.m. against Bloomington at the Events Center) is as noisy and crazy as last Friday night’s game was. We didn’t have a game at Springfield that night so I tracked it on my computer, and it looked like it was just a crazy night of hockey.
    “I can’t wait to be a part of that.”
     
     
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