Rochester, Pa. - After a pair of wins to start off conference play, the Nittany Lions (3-3, 2-1 PSUAC) were slowed on saturday when they faced defending Penn State University Athletic Conference champion Penn State Beaver, being out-shot by their western rival 20-7 in the contest. Despite Beaver's attack advantage, both squads competed to a virtual stalemate on the field, but an early penalty kick for the home squad proved the difference maker as Beaver held off a late Hazleton charge to take home the 2-1 victory and remain undefeated in the PSUAC.
Beaver went on the attack early in the early stages of play and by the 10 minute mark, broke into the Hazleton defense. The Nittany Lions committed a costly foul inside the 18, leading to a Beaver penalty kick converted by Julius Illiano to give the home team a 1-0 advantage. Following the early score, Hazleton held Beaver in check, but failed to get the offense moving and were held to just two shots in the first half and 1-0 deficit at the midway point.
The home team controlled the tempo to start of the second half and Beaver's Dom DeMino made Hazleton pay with a score just 13 minutes after action resumed, stretching Beaver's lead to 2-0. Hazleton fought back after a slow first half, notching seven second half shots and surged late in the half as sophomore Ben Pasukinis (Benton, Pa.) fired in an unassisted score in the 82 minute. The Lions late rally gave Beaver a scare, but with just eight minutes remaining in the contest, the defending champs clung to their one score lead to the final buzzer.
Hazleton looks to rebound as they continue their western PSUAC road trip this weekend. The Lions travel to Penn State New Kensington on Sunday with play beginning at 3:00 p.m.