Hazleton, Pa. - The 2018 season came to a close Sunday afternoon as Hazleton fell in the latter stages of play to Penn State York. With a playoff berth on the line, Hazleton responded after trailing 1-0 at the half and took a lead midway through the 2nd period. But the final 15 minutes would not be kind to the Nittany Lions who saw York strike for three late goals, erasing Hazleton's lead and then sealing up the win by the score of 4-2.
Hazleton had the upper hand early and controlled the time share in the first half but a 14-4 lead in shots didn't translate into a lead for the Nittany Lions. Just as the relatively quiet first half came to end, York changed the narrative and broke onto the scoreboard first. With just seconds to play in the half, Carlos Robles-Flores dribbled through the Hazleton defense on the right side of the 18 slipping the ball across the goal and past the keeper, stealing a lead with just one tick left on the clock.
Aside from the late score, Hazleton's first half play translated into confidence and the Nittany Lions wasted no time equalizing the game. A touch pass from sophomore Sam Deptula (Shamokin, Pa.) found junior Aaron Wrobleski (Mountain Top, Pa.) who poked the ball past the York keeper to give Hazleton new life and tie the game at 1-1. Eleven minutes would tick away until the Hazleton duo combined again with Wrobleski repaying the favor. The junior dribbled through the York defense at the top of the 18 dishing the ball to Deptula on a through ball for the score and a 2-1 advantage.
Hazleton would continue to command the ball for much of the second half, but 90 second stretch would proved pivotal for both squads. In the 75th minute Robles-Flores would strike again, tying the game on a low bullet off a pass from York's Shen Chen. With the game all square, Hazleton still felt good about the chances until a costly turnover spoiled what was otherwise a well played game. York's Cole Wentz was the benefactor, stealing the ball in Hazleton territory and firing a shot from 30 yards out, hooking the ball around the left post for what would become the game winning score. Hazleton would press upfield to find the equalizer, but would come up empty. A late score on the empty net would insure the win for York, ousting Hazleton from postseason contention while simultaneously punching their own ticket.