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Evan Barratt Getting Back To His Scoring Self After Grueling World Junior Championship

The World Junior Championship may be one of the most physically demanding tournaments in hockey.

In the preliminary round of this year’s tournament, Penn State men’s hockey sophomore Evan Barratt and Team USA played four games in six days — including back-to-back contests against Kazakhstan and Sweden on December 28 and 29. The Americans had just one day to rest before playing three more games in four days in the medal round.

Barratt was understandably exhausted, physically and mentally, following the tournament. He played a key role for the United States, which came up short in the gold medal game against Finland and took home a silver medal.

One side effect of Barratt’s involvement at the tournament was a slow start to the second half of the collegiate season. He didn’t score a goal in his first three games back against Michigan State and Ohio State, picking up just one assist as the Nittany Lions went 1-2.

He got the “proverbial monkey off his back” in the second game of Penn State’s series against Ohio State to snap his longest goal-scoring drought of the season.

The sophomore hadn’t gone more than two games without scoring a goal in the first half of the season, but it’s safe to say he’s bounced back now.

“Honestly, I think Evan went through a grueling tournament emotionally and physically,” head coach Guy Gadowsky said after Penn State’s 5-2 victory against Michigan at Madison Square Garden. “He looked really fresh tonight. He was extremely tired, but I think he’s finally getting back to himself.”

Although he scored against Ohio State the weekend before Penn State’s split against Michigan last weekend, Barratt and his linemates Alex Limoges and Liam Folkes weren’t dominating games like they did in the first half of the year.

That changed at the World’s Most Famous Arena last Saturday.

The line was responsible for four of Penn State’s five goals in the Nittany Lions’ first-ever victory at Madison Square Garden. Barratt was the driving force behind its success. He scored three or more points for the fourth time this season by scoring the opening goal and adding two assists.

Limoges, Barratt, and Folkes hadn’t necessarily played poorly leading up to Saturday’s contest in New York City. As Barratt noted postgame, however, they weren’t wasteful with the high-percentage scoring chances Michigan gave them. Excellent finishing from all three players put the Nittany Lions in position to pick up a much-needed victory.

Guy Gadowsky’s team currently sits firmly on the NCAA Tournament bubble in the No. 18 spot in the PairWise rankings. Barratt and his linemates may have to be the Nittany Lions’ driving force as they enter the last eight games of the regular season.

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About the Author

Mikey Mandarino

In the most upsetting turn of events, Mikey graduated from Penn State with a digital & print journalism degree in the spring of 2020. He covered Penn State football and served as an editor for Onward State from 2018 until his graduation. Mikey is from Bedminster, New Jersey, so naturally, he spends lots of time yelling about all the best things his home state has to offer. Mikey also loves to play golf, but he sucks at it because golf is really hard. If you, for some reason, feel compelled to see what Mikey has to say on the internet, follow him on Twitter @Mikey_Mandarino. You can also get in touch with Mikey via his big-boy email address: [email protected]

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