March 16, 2013

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Manny Returns, but Penn State Downs UMass

from staff reports

AMHERST, Mass. - The No. 18 Penn State men's lacrosse team scored the final three goals in a 7-5 win over No. 19 Massachusetts at Garber Field in the teams' Colonial Athletic Association opener. Jack Forster (Jenkintown, Pa.) scored four goals and Kyle VanThof (Penfield, N.Y.) netted the game-winner to propel the Nittany Lions to victory in front of 1,023 fans.

2012 Tewaaraton Award finalist Will Manny was back in the lineup for the Minutemen for the first time since UMass' opening game of the season Feb. 10. He was out with a broken thumb.

A nip and tuck game that saw five ties and six lead changes had Penn State (3-3, 1-0 CAA) come out on top. UMass (3-4, 0-1 CAA) took a 5-4 lead late in the third quarter, but Forster tied the game before the quarter's end. VanThof tallied a left-winged shot from Gavin Ahern (Rockville Centre, N.Y.) with the timer on mid-way through the fourth period. Forster added insurance a few minutes later, again with the timer on, sealing the victory.

Junior Austin Kaut (Morton, Pa.), who saved 25 shots in his freshman appearance in Amherst, an 8-7 win in 2011, had a fantastic game. Kaut's 16 saves and five goals against was a season best. Kaut moved into eighth on the Penn State career saves list and now has 432 total stops.

Forster put Penn State up early on an unassisted goal just 1:20 into the contest. UMass's Connor Mooney knotted the game with 6:37 remaining in the first period, his first of three goals on the day. Forster answered back 1:22 later with another unassisted tally. UM's Kyle Smith scored on a Will Manny helper with 2:14 remaining in the first as the game was tied after one period of play. Manny, the reigning CAA Player of the Year and USILA All-American, made his return from a thumb injury suffered in the first game of the season.

The second period saw Penn State take its third one-goal lead on a Kyle Zittel rip from the right wing with 9:23 to go ni the second. Matt Whippen scored for UMass on another helper from Manny with 5:15 left and the game would be tied entering halftime.

In the third, Mooney put the Minutemen up 4-3 just 3:29 into the period. Nick Dolik (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) tallied his first goal of the season in front of the net on a pretty feed from Tom LaCrosse (Canandaigua, N.Y.) with 7:08 to go, tying the game, 4-4. Mooney capped his hat trick with a man-up goal from Smith for Massachusetts' final lead of the game, 5-4 with 5:28 to go in the third. Forster tied the game with 3:12 left in the third on a pretty roll from the left wing. Forster was knocked down and scored from his knees before he entered the crease and beat UMass goalie Zach Oliveri (14 saves).

The fourth period belonged to Penn State with key scoring in crucial situations. The game was tied entering the final six minutes and the officials signaled a stall warning on the Nittany Lions. Ahern received a pass on the right wing, swung it left for VanThof who rifled it by Oliveri for a 6-5 lead. The tally was VanThof's third and Ahern's first point of the 2013 campaign.

Another timer-on situation was encountered by the Nittany Lion, this time it was a one-man effort by Forster to slip one in the net for the game's first two-goal advantage. Forster's tally gave him the point lead for Penn State this season with 22. Freshman TJ Sanders (Orillia, Ont.) was held scoreless for the first time in his young career and trails Forster by one point. Forster, the sixth-year senior out of Jenkintown, sit 14 goals behind Bill Hess (1956-58) for 11th on PSU's all-time list. Additionally, Forster is 18 points behind Tom Lion (1981-84) for 11th on the career points list.

The Minutemen held a 39-32 advantage in shots, including a 26-15 margin in the second and third quarters combined. UMass won the ground ball war (20-17) and faceoffs (10-6). PSU committed just seven turnovers, while Massachusetts had 10 turnovers. PSU was 0-for-3 on the man-up and UMass went 1-for-2.

Steven Bogert (Carlsbad, Calif.) led the Nittany Lions with four ground balls, while JP Burnside (Garden City, N.Y.) and Michael Richards (Skaneateles, N.Y.) each collected three ground balls.

Penn State now trails 10-5 in the all-time series with Massachusetts and has won the past two meetings at Garber Field. In 15 total meetings, 12 games have been decided by three goals or less.

The Nittany Lions have a quick turnaround as PSU caps a three-game road swing at Binghamton (3-3) on Tuesday. The opening faceoff is slated for 4 p.m. with the Bearcats, who defeated Manhattan 13-6 on Saturday in Vestal, N.Y.


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