A span of 2 minutes, 11 seconds in the first period was already enough to wreck Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s night.
By the end of the third? It was the most goals ever allowed in Penguins franchise history.
The Penguins lost their composure throughout the night, racking up 64 minutes in penalties in a 12-3 demolition at the hands of Rochester on the road Friday night.
According to the AHL, it was the most goals scored by a team in a single game in more than 15 years, dating back to December 2002.
On top of that, the loss dropped the Penguins out of first place in the Atlantic Division behind Lehigh Valley, which routed Springfield. The Phantoms are now six points ahead of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (30-14-3-1, 64 points), though the Penguins have four games in hand and trail by percentage points (.673 to .667).
Seth Griffith, Adam Krause and Zach Redmond all scored in rapid succession in the first to drop the Penguins into a deep hole. The pain continued in the second period when Griffith tallied again to chase starting goalie Casey DeSmith, who gave up four goals on 14 shots.
Things didn’t improve for backup Anthony Peters, who was beaten on the first shot he faced by Alex Nylander to make it a 5-0 game early in the second. Peters made just 15 saves on 23 shots.
The frustration mounted for the Penguins, who continued to parade to the penalty box during the onslaught. It started early with a heavy hit on defenseman Lukas Bengtsson by Rochester’s Colin Blackwell.
Enforcer Patrick McGrath tried to fight Blackwell later in the period but ended up going to the box himself for roughing, and then was assessed a 10-minute misconduct and a game misconduct for “continuing an altercation.”
As it was, the Penguins played the rest of the game without McGrath and with just four defensemen as Bengtsson and Chris Summers both left with injuries.
Forward Gage Quinney would also get a 10-minute misconduct in the second period for unsportsmanlike conduct. In the third, Garrett Wilson and Reid Gardiner were tagged with bench minors for unsportsmanlike conduct.
In all, Rochester scored six times with the man-advantage.
Jarrett Burton and recent Wheeling call-up Cody Wydo got the Penguins on the board with back-to-back goals, but Brendan Guhle and Sean Malone answered for the Amerks to keep the game out of reach.
Greg McKegg added a goal for the Penguins in the third. Nylander, Kyle Criscuolo (twice), Stuart Percy and Matt Tennyson closed out the scoring for Rochester.
In his first game with the Penguins after being acquired in a trade with Stockton, Joseph Cramarossa recorded an assist on Burton’s goal.
Incredibly, the Penguins outshot Rochester 38-37 in the loss.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton returns home for a 7:05 p.m. game against Utica on Saturday before traveling to Allentown to face the Phantoms at 5:05 p.m. Sunday.
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