Pinder Scores Twice As Birds Take Series Lead


By Matt Stefano

After tying the best of seven NOJHL finals series at one on Sunday with an 8-0 win over Crunch, the Soo Thunderbirds traveled to Cochrane for game three tonight at the Tim Horton Event Centre. Mario Culina made his second straight start in net after turning aside eighteen shots in game two.

Daniel Stagg put the Crunch up 1-0 with his tenth of the postseason at 3:02 from Jason Berube, until Nick Tassone’s fourth of the playoffs just 4:58 later (unassisted) tied the game up at one. Matt Pinder’s fifth on the power play with 2:01 to go put the Soo in front 2-1 from Boris Katchouk and Matt Caruso.

With the Soo leading 2-1 heading into the second, it would be Owen Headrick’s eleventh at 6:22 from Nick Tassone and Joey Miller to put the Soo up by two. Cody Gratton’s ninth (unassisted) with just 1:58 to play in the second, cut the lead to 3-2. Matt Pinder’s second of the night and sixth of the postseason at 10:33 into the third added some insurance from Boris Katchouk and Brandon Grandinetti, as the T-Birds would double up on the Cochrane Crunch 4-2 to take a 2-1 series lead in the best of seven finals match up.

Mario Culina made twenty nine stops for the Soo’s win.

Game four goes back in Cochrane tomorrow night at 7:30 from the Tim Horton Event Centre.

Note: Game five which was scheduled to be on Monday, April 20th, has been changed to Sunday, April 19th at 7:30 from the Essar Centre.


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Matt had graduated from Sault College in the General Arts and Sciences program in 2011 and has been working in the sports field ever since. The Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario native has worked as an Athletics Assistant in the Sault College Athletics Department during his final year of school in 2011. After graduating, Stefano worked for two years at the George Leach Centre from 2011-2013 for the Algoma University Thunderbirds Varsity Basketball Games as an Athletics Assistant. From 2013 on, Stefano has been working as the Soo Thunderbirds communications person and has also been volunteering with Shaw TV Sault Ste. Marie since 2014, doing Soo Thunderbirds TV Segments.