Scranton, Pa.- The Nittany Lions were back in action on Tuesday in non-conference play against Lackawanna College, looking to extend their winning ways to three consecutive games. Hazleton opened the game with three early scores, but the Falcons rallied with three unanswered scores of their own to tie the game in the beginning stages of the second half. Sophomore Ben Pasukinis (Benton, Pa.) and senior Kyle Venditti (Berwick, Pa.) added a pair of second half goals to retake the lead and Hazleton fought off another rally by the home team to edge Lackawanna by the final score of 5-4.
Hazleton pounced on the Faclons midway through the first period, scoring three times over a span of just eight minutes. With just under 28 minutes remaining in the period, Pasukinis stole a pass being played back to the Falcon defense, punching a ground ball past the keeper for the game's first score. Just three minutes later, Venditti got in on the action, taking over with his dribbling prowess, bypassing defenders to score an unassisted score and put Hazleton up 2-0. Seemingly on fire, the Lions again went on the attack at the 20 minute mark, as Pasukinis played a through ball to Venditti in Falcon territory. Venditti passed to freshman Moussa Diouf (Carteret, Nj.) who unleashed a shot from the top of the 18 yard mark, extending Hazleton's lead to 3-0.
Lackawanna rallied to close the gap by halftime, notching two goals in the final nine minutes of the first half. Daniel Zuniga fielded a crossing pass the six yard box, tucking it neatly in the net to tighten the score at 3-1. With 2:25 to play in the half, the Falcons continued to press on offense when Ryan Euell's deflected pass found Carlos Perez, notching the score and closing the gap to 3-2 in favor of Hazleton
The Falcons carried that late first half momentum into the final period, tying the score eight minutes into the second period, and again it was Zuniga inflicting the damage. Zuniga fired off a brilliant shot from the right corner of the 18, planting the ball in the left corner of the goal past the Hazleton keeper to knot the game at 3-3.
But Hazleton responded with two straight scores from their dynamic forwards. Just two minutes after the falcons tied the game, Pasukinis went on the attack for the Lions and found paydirt. The forward fired a shot off the Falcon keeper, but continued to pursue the ball, collecting his own rebound to score his second goal of the game and recapture the lead for Hazleton. Nearly 27 minutes of back and forth play ensued until the Lion's pressure led to a penalty opportunity for Venditti, who promptly extended Hazleton's lead back to two goals at 5-3.
Hazleton would need that insurance tally as the Falcons had no quit in them. With just over six minutes remaining, Lackawanna's Ryan Euell cut into that lead, firing a ball off a Hazleton defender to find the back of the net. Hazleton fought off the desperate Falcon attack in the final minutes, including a shot from Euell off the crossbar, but Hazleton freshman keeper Brandon Yocum (Bloomsburg, Pa.) collected the rebound and the Lions held on to win 5-4.
The Nittany Lions head back to conference play on Friday, October 7th when they visit Penn State York, a game that has been moved up one day from Saturday, October 8th. Kickoff scheduled for 4:00 p.m.