Evan Barratt Scores Game-Winning Goal, Earns No. 6 Spot Of SportsCenter Top 10 In World Junior Championship Debut
Penn State men’s hockey center Evan Barratt couldn’t have asked for a better start to his first U-20 World Junior Championship.
Barratt buried the game-winning goal in the third period and was named Team USA’s player of the game as the Americans came from behind to take down Slovakia 2-1 in its first game of the competition. His goal was good enough to earn the No. 6 spot on SportsCenter’s top 10 plays of Wednesday night.
Barratt is no stranger to SportsCenter’s top 10 plays — he earned the No. 2 spot on the list for an incredible goal he scored against Arizona State at Pegula Ice Arena. The Bristol, PA native is back amongst the top 10, only this time for his country on one of the biggest stages in amateur hockey.
Wednesday’s tournament-opening game didn’t exactly start according to plan for the United States’ U-20 national team. Slovakia took a 1-0 lead late in the second period, giving Team USA a deficit entering the final 20 minutes of play.
Barratt was involved in both of his team’s goals to complete the comeback. He set a perfect screen to allow captain Mikey Anderson to fire a shot from the point past the Slovakian netminder and tie the game on the power play before scoring his first goal of the tournament. The sophomore played on a line with Noah Cates and Tyler Madden — a 2018 third-round pick of the Vancouver Canucks and the son of John Madden, who spent 12 years in the NHL with New Jersey, Chicago, Minnesota, and Florida.
Penn State’s lone representative on the United States’ roster had an excellent game on Wednesday. He always seemed to be around the puck and generated plenty of scoring chances in 15:43 of ice time, a good chunk of which came on his team’s top power play unit alongside Jack Hughes — the projected No. 1 overall pick in this summer’s NHL Draft.
Elsewhere, Finnish freshman Aarne Talvitie also got off to a great start in his World Junior Championship debut. Talvitie has spent most of his first season of college hockey on the left wing, but he played center for Finland in its tournament-opening defeat to Sweden.
Finland’s captain scored a goal of his own in the loss, blasting home a one-timer following a pass by Kaapo Kakko — the player who most believe will be selected No. 2 overall in the 2019 NHL Draft.
Both of Penn State’s players at the World Junior Championship got off to excellent starts. They’ll hope to keep the good times rolling in their second games of the tournament — both of their next games are against Kazakhstan. Talvitie and the Finns will be back in action at 10 p.m. Thursday, while Barratt and the Americans will play at 10 p.m. Friday.
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