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Amerks Lose In OT After Crazy Fight

RIT grad Pinizotto loses control, Amerks get 7 minute power play
First, Steven Pinizzotto appeared to lose his mind. 

Then, the Amerks lost a lead. 

Brandon Davidson scored with just over two minutes left in overtime as Oklahoma City erased a 4-2 third period deficit to beat the Amerks 5-4 at The Blue Cross Arena Sunday night. Davidson redeemed himself for a pair of undisciplined penalties that set up goals for Rochester in the second period. 

The Amerks got their 4-2 lead thanks in large part to Pinizzotto's wild attack on Nick Tuzzolino. Pinizzotto, an RIT graduate, left the bench without a stick or gloves and made a beeline for Tuzzolino midway through the second period. The Amerks defenseman turtled, but that didn't stop Pinizotto. He continued to punch and kick long after a linesman intervened. It took more than 30 seconds to get Pinizotto off of Tuzzolino. 

Pinizotto was given 27 minutes of penalties and was ejected. Amerk Jamie Tardiff and Baron C.J. Stretch were also ejected under the league's "third man in" rule. However, the Amerks ended up with a seven minute power play. 

"I stepped up on him early in the period and caught him with an elbow," Tuzzolino said. "He told me he was going to jump me after. You hear that a lot and I didn't fully believe it. He came off the bench with practically nothing on and that was it. It was a big advantage for our team, though."

"We lost a linesman because he took a puck in the ear. It's dangerous at that point," Amerks coach Chadd Cassidy said. "The referee can't get in there because he has to see what's going on. You've got one linesman that's dealing with one guy that's out of control and then four other skirmishes." 

Tuzzolino said he didn't fight back because Rochester had a precarious depth situation at defense. The Amerks had lost Drew Bagnall to an injury early in the game and were playing their third game in three nights. If Tuzzolino gets tossed, Rochester would have been left with four exhausted blue-liners in a 2-2 game with a period and a half to play. "It wouldn't be fair to them and it put us on the man advantage for a long time, so I didn't see any positives in fighting him."

What was Tuzzolino thinking while trying to survive Pinizzotto's fury? "When's it gonna end? There was a couple seconds there where I'm like 'I don't think this is going to stop'."

A minute after Rochester began their seven-minute power play, Davidson took a minor to make it a 5-on-3. Rochester needed 22 seconds to score. Rasmus 
Ristolainen and Kevin Porter played catch along the blueline before Porter unleashed a one-timer that darted into the top corner.

Following the goal, Davidson went back to the box for unsportsmanlike conduct after yapping at the ref. It took 14 seconds for the Amerks to cash in their second 5-on-3 power play. Luke 
Adam completed a tic-tac-toe passing play and went top shelf on a cross-crease pass from Mike Zigomanis to put the Amerks ahead 4-2.

The Barons tied the score with goals 79 seconds apart in the third period by Roman Horak and Brad Hunt. The tying goal was a slapshot that glanced off an Amerk stick and went in just under the crossbar. 

Joel Armia had a chance to put the Amerks on top late in the third when a turnover rolled on to his stick on the doorstep of the Barons goal, but he shot wide. 

The game winner was a pretty play. Mark Arcobello fed Horak in the slot who then slid a pass to Davidson on the far post. All he had to do was hit the net. 

Pinizzotto actually opened the scoring thanks to a fortuitous bounce 7:32 in when Taylor Fedun’s slap-shot deflected off an attempted block from Frederick Roy.  The puck then caromed off Pinizzotto's shin and into the empty side.
 
The Barons struck with their second goal of the game while shorthanded with 7:03 left in the opening period, as Acton picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone, crossed the Amerk blueline and fired a shot under Hackett’s glove and into the net. Rochester quickly responded, however, when Armia floated behind Oklahoma City’s net and dumped the puck in front for Gillies, who banged it home bringing the score to 2-1.

Just under four minutes into the second period, the Amerks took advantage of an Oklahoma City turnover deep in the Rochester zone when Nick Crawford fed Phil Varone with a breakaway pass down the left wing. Varone’s nifty backhand move on Bachman knotted the score, 2-2.
 
Varone capped a productive weekend, finishing with his second straight three-point (1+2) effort and seven points in his past three games. Adam scored his team-leading 26th goal of the season and for the second time in as many games. Goaltender Matt Hackett got the starting nod in net and made 27 saves for the Amerks.
 
Horak led the visiting Barons with a goal and three assists, and Richard Bachman turned aside 13 of 17 Rochester shots in net. 

The Amerks remain home on Wednesday, March 12 for their second of three consecutive home games as the Binghamton Senators make their third of four visits to Rochester on the season. Wednesday’s game, which marks the first of two between the Amerks and B-Sens this week (the clubs will also face-off in Binghamton on Saturday, March 15),
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