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Two Beavers Face Each Other

From the Winnipeg Sun

As the Houston Aeros attempt to keep their American Hockey League season alive for the second time in as many games, the Houston Chronicle is reporting that head coach Kevin Constantine is turning to virtual unknown Matt Climie between the pipes.

With Anton Khudobin sustaining a knee injury in the third period on Wednesday and Nolan Schaefer coming back from injury, the Aeros are going with a prospect who has only nine games of AHL experience (six in the regular season and three in the Calder Cup playoffs) in Game 5 of the Western Conference final against the Manitoba Moose.

“We feel throughout the playoffs, (Climie’s) play is at the highest of our group of goalies,” Aeros assistant coach Luke Strand, who makes the goaltending decisions, told the Houston Chronicle. “Since the end of March, Nolan (Schaefer) had only faced very limited time in any type of game scenario leaving him maybe just a bit off of his timing. “Matt is a talented goalie that we are hoping continues to be as sharp as a starter as he has been in his time of relief this playoff run.”

The Moose hold a 3-1 series edge going into Friday’s contest, slated to start at 7:35 p.m.

If Moose forward Alexandre Bolduc, who is officially listed as “questionable” with a lower-body injury, is unable to play, look for Matt Pope to step back into the lineup.

Defenceman Zack FitzGerald replaced Bolduc in Game 4 and played forward on the fourth line, but with a lingering injury to Tommy Maxwell and injuries to both Bolduc and Pierre-Cedric Labrie, the door is open for Pope, who wasn’t on Manitoba’s clear-day roster.

Pope has two goals and four points in five post-season games this spring.

Climie has relieved Khudobin three times during the Calder Cup playoffs and hasn’t allowed a goal in 50 minutes, stopping all 25 shots he faced.

The Leduc, Alta. product didn’t appear in an AHL game during the regular season but did see action in three games with the Dallas Stars, going 2-1 with a 2.92 goals against average and .894 save percentage.

Climie, a 26-year-old who signed with the Stars as a free agent last March after spending four seasons with Bemidji State University of the NCAA, spent the majority of the season with the Idaho Steelheads of the ECHL, going 27-12-1 with four shutouts, a 2.41 goals against average and .915 save percentage.