Yeah a pin hole is a BIG deal. It's not about leaking as much as it is pressure. And like Hotspur said, If he sees the patch spot, he'll prolly say No Go. Get a quote before he comes, maybe cheaper to find a new fridge. Preferably same size so you can transfer the lid!
This is such a horrible ending to this thread. I'm sorry for your loss.
And yeah, next one you get, mount the regs to the wood collar.