Culina paying off for Spitfires

February 29, 2016

Free-agent goalie Mario Culina has been money in the bank for the Windsor Spitfires as a 1997 birth-year rookie.

A Sault Ste. Marie native, Culina has been quite the Ontario Hockey League find for the Spitfires in 2015-2016 after backstopping the Soo Thunderbirds to the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League championship in 2014-2015.

Never drafted into the OHL, Culina made the Spitfires as a walk-on last fall only to suffer an injury and be sent back to the Thunderbirds.

But after re-assessing their goal-tending situation, the Spitfires purchased Culina’s contract from the Thunderbirds and the slender goalie has put up good numbers in Windsor as part of a tandem with 1999 birth-year rookie Michael DiPietro.

Culina has a 10-3-1 record to go with a 2.24 goals against average and .912 save percentage.

By comparison, DiPietro has a 14-8-1 record to go with a 2.45 goals against average and .914 save percentage.

Culina and DiPietro are Spitfires via much-different routes.

As Culina is an undrafted free agent from the Soo, DiPietro is a second-round draft pick of the Spitfires from 2015 who hails from the nearby-Windsor town of Amhertsburg.

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