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Pinder OT hero as Thunderbirds edge Wildcats

ELLIOT LAKE – A Matt Pinder goal 59 seconds into overtime was the difference as the Soo Thunderbirds edged the Elliot Lake Wildcats 3-2 Saturday night in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League preseason play in front of a large crowd at Centennial Arena.

The hometown Wildcats got on the board first in this one as Nathan Campbell connected on the power play in the final minute of the opening stanza.

Jacob Porco pulled the visiting Thunderbirds level 128 seconds into the middle stanza to level the proceedings after 40 minutes.

Porco then notched his second of the affair at 11:13 of the third to put Sault Ste. Marie up by one.

Elliot Lake then forced extra time with 6:53 left in regulation as Alec Mackenzie tied it as he finished off the work of Campbell and Cole Hepler.

Matt Caruso had a pair of assists to support the offensive cause of the winning side.

Pinder spoiled the Wildcats debut early in OT however as he beat Elliot Lake netminder Allan Menary with his club’s 37th shot of the night to give the T-Birds the win.

Mario Culina kicked out 30 of 32 shots he faced to register the triumph for the Soo.

In other NOJHL exhibition play Saturday the Cochrane Crunch knocked off the Powassan Voodoos 7-1 in a neutral site affair played in New Liskeard.

A full game report on that contest will follow.

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