Evan Barratt Impresses In The United States’ First World Junior Exhibition Game
Penn State men’s hockey center Evan Barratt got off to a good start in the United States’ first pre-tournament contest ahead of the 2019 U-20 World Junior Championship in Western Canada.
Barratt recorded an assist and served as an alternate captain as Team USA rallied from a 2-0 deficit to beat Russia 3-2. The sophomore centered his team’s top line and was flanked by NHL Draft picks Tyler Madden and Jason Robertson.
Penn State’s lone representative on the United States’ roster picked up the primary assist on his team’s first goal of the game. Barratt took a shot that was tipped into the net by Robertson, a second-round pick of the Dallas Stars in the 2017 NHL Draft.
Although the United States won the game in regulation, the two teams played five minutes of 3-on-3 overtime and a shootout, which were set to take place regardless of what happened in regulation. Russia ended up winning the shootout 4-3, but Barratt used the opportunity to casually score a highlight-reel goal.
Team USA head coach Mike Hastings didn’t field a full-strength lineup for the exhibition contest. Michigan center Josh Norris and defenseman Quinn Hughes are virtual locks to make the United States’ final 23-man roster, but both sat out of Thursday’s game. Barratt centering the top line Thursday is impressive, but the sheer amount of talent on the roster means he probably won’t stay in that spot for the entire tournament.
The Bristol, PA native is tied with teammate Alex Limoges as college hockey’s leading scorer with 29 points in 17 games played this season. He was rewarded with a spot on the United States’ preliminary roster ahead of the tournament, which begins on December 26.
If Barratt makes the final cut, he’ll become the first Nittany Lion to play for Team USA in the U-20 tournament. Simply put, that’d be a huge accomplishment for Barratt and an even bigger deal for Penn State’s hockey program due to the prestige of the World Junior Championship, which is widely considered the world’s premier amateur hockey tournament.
Elsewhere, freshman Aarne Talvitie was a healthy scratch for Finland’s first pre-tournament exhibition game against Denmark on Wednesday. The Finns will face Canada in their final tune-up for the tournament on December 23. Finland and the United States were placed in the same round-robin group, so it’s possible that Barratt and Talvitie play against each other when their countries square off on New Year’s Eve.
The United States will play against the Czech Republic Saturday for its final pre-tournament exhibition game. USA Hockey expects to unveil its final roster for the World Junior Championship on December 23.
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