AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) - Penn State freshman goalie Austin Kaut made 25 saves, the most of any player in the NCAA in 2011, as the Nittany Lions beat No. 10 UMass, 8-7 on Saturday afternoon at Garber Field. UMass had a chance to tie the game in the final seconds, but Ryan Hantverk's shot rifled off the crossbar sending the Minutemen (5-2) to their second one-goal loss of the season. Penn State (3-3) won the CAA conference opener for both teams.
Sophomore Kyle VanThof scored a career-high four goals including the eventual game-winner with 1:10 left in regulation.
UMass peppered Kaut all game, but the Morton, Pa., native was up to the task stopping six Minuteman shots in the fourth quarter as the Minutemen pressured for the tying goals all game. Art Kell (2 goals, 1 assist) brought UMass to within one at 7-6 with 8:35 left in the game and Anthony Biscardi (2 goals and 2 assists) cut the deficit to one at 8-7 with 55.7 seconds left in regulation.
The Minuteman defense pressured the Nittany Lions to turn the ball over 22 times in the game including two in the final minute, but UMass was unable to net the equalizer.
UMass rallied to the tie the game for the only time at 5-5 on a Colin Fleming rip with 1:36 left in the third quarter. That came after Kyle Smith tallied just 45 seconds earlier, on a goal in transition after Biscardi caused a turnover with a big hit.
Tim McCormack was strong in goal for UMass, making 11 saves. Junior face-off man Anthony Toresco won 11-of-17 for UMass.
Kaut was sensational in the first half in making 14 saves as UMass outshot Penn State, 18-12 and led 4-2 on the scoreboard. The Nittany Lions scored the only goal of the second quarter as VanToft netted his second of the game with 11:43 left in the first half. Both goalies were strong in the second period with Kaut stopping six and McCormack making four saves.
Penn State opened the game with three consecutive goals by Tom Lacrosse, Shane Sturgis and VanToft in the first 7:47. UMass' Kell and Mike Fetterly notched back-to-back goals for a 3-2 score at the end of the first quarter.
Last season, Sal Barcia of Robert Morris made the most saves in the NCAA with 26, ironically against Penn State (2/20/10).
The Minutemen have 10 days off before they travel to Harvard for a March 29 night match-up at Harvard Stadium.