Hazleton, Pa. - Senior Kyle Venditti (Berwick, Pa.) and the Nittany Lions ramped up the offense on Wednesday afternoon, constantly pressuring the defense of Penn State Worthington Scranton and breaking free for nine unanswered goals as Hazleton surged past their opponent by the final score of 9-0. With the win, Hazleton earns their second consecutive shut-out to remain undefeated in the early rounds of Penn State University Athletic Conference play.
After jumping out to a quick lead in the 14th minute of play, the Nittany Lion offense snowballed into a multitude of opportunities, converting on nine of 23 shots on target while their defense kept Worthington Scranton on their heels. Hazleton defenders limited their opponents to just three total shots, none of which found freshman goalkeeper Brandon Yocum (Bloomsburg, Pa.) who picked up his second shut-out of the season.
The Lions came out firing from the opening whistle, reeling off nine shots in the first 13 minutes of play, three from Venditti. As the Worthington Scranton defense keyed in on the senior during Hazleton's next possession, Venditti dumped the ball off to the slashing freshman Moussa Diouf (Carteret, Nj.) who found the back of the net for the Lions opening score. In the 24th minute of play, junior Steven Principe (Jim Thorpe, Pa.) made a similar run on the Scranton goalkeeper, finding sophomore Ben Pasukinis (Benton, Pa.) streaking at the net who promptly pushed the lead to 2-0 midway through the period.
After the ensuing kick-off, Hazleton continued to stay on the attack, intercepting the Scranton advance and advancing the ball into opponent territory. Just 90 seconds after the second goal, Venditti broke free for his first tally of the afternoon, then again at the 42nd minute to increase the lead to 4-0 at the half, with Pasukinis aiding Venditti on both scores.
The second period remained unkind to the visiting squad as Hazleton maintained their voracious pursuit of the net. Principe scored twice over a six minute stretch in the opening minutes of play, book-ending an unassisted Venditti score to boost the lead to 7-0 by the 57th minute. Pasukinis later broke free for unassisted score before exiting the contest and sophomore Austin Yaletchko (Nottingham, Pa.) capped the afternoon's scoring sending the ball to the back of the net on a deflection in front of the Worthington Scranton goal.
Venditti delivered another fine performance, notching his second hat-trick of the season, coming up one point shy of his season high with eight points on the afternoon. Ben Pasukinis assisted on three of Hazleton's scores, netting two scores for himself while teammate Steve Principe added two scores and an assist in the runaway win.
Hazleton heads west on Saturday for their next major test of the season. On Saturday, September 17 at 4:00 p.m. the Lions will face Penn State Beaver who bested Hazleton in the PSUAC semi-final round last year. Following Saturday's showdown, the Lions will remain on the road traveling to Penn State New Kensington for a matchup on Sunday at 2:00 p.m.