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Evan Barratt Once Again Lights Up Highlight Reel For Penn State Hockey

In all likelihood, the overwhelming majority of college-level athletes will never make an appearance on SportsCenter’s nightly Top 10 plays. Penn State hockey’s Evan Barratt, however, plays with a flair that’s made him a bit of a mainstay on SportsCenter.

The star center’s latest work of art was the opening goal in Penn State’s 2-2 tie/shootout loss against Ohio State on Friday night. Liam Folkes put a backhand shot on Tommy Nappier’s goal following a breakaway, but the Buckeye netminder’s save popped the puck up into the air.

Nappier’s save allowed Barratt to show off his hand-eye coordination, flair, and apparent readiness for baseball season.

“I just kind of saw the puck go in the air, watched it come down, and I was lucky to find it over his shoulder,” Barratt said. “That’s one of the skills I’m lucky enough to have, so I’m just happy it went in.”

Barratt’s goal earned the No. 3 spot on SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays of the night — his fourth appearance on the show’s iconic countdown. The Chicago Blackhawks prospect debuted at No. 2 on the list after his lacrosse-style goal against Arizona State last season, and he was back on at No. 6 following his goal for Team USA at the 2019 U-20 World Junior Championship. Earlier this season, Barratt checked in at No. 9 on SportsCenter’s Top 10 after a similarly-unreal display of hand-eye coordination against Michigan State.

The junior has clearly made a habit of putting himself on the highlight reel, but that doesn’t change how mind-blowing his skills are to watch for his teammates and coaches.

“Unbelievable. It feels like we see something new every weekend,” freshman center Connor MacEachern said. “He’s probably the most creative player I’ve ever seen play the game.”

“You’re dealing with a different animal with his mind. The stuff he manages to do at game speed is really ridiculous,” head coach Guy Gadowsky added. “I can’t tell you how it comes about because my mind can never do anything like that. Even though he does practice that stuff, practicing it and doing it at game speed are two completely different things.”

Luck wasn’t the biggest factor in his highlight-reel tally, but Barratt also hadn’t been getting the best bounces in recent weeks. He snapped a season-long three-game pointless skid with his emphatic swat of the puck last Friday, and he’s now second among the Nittany Lions’ forwards with 11 goals and 32 points this year following a two-point effort in Penn State’s 6-3 victory over the Buckeyes on Saturday.

Gadowsky had tons of praise for the performance from Barratt’s line with Liam Folkes and Alex Limoges beyond the trio’s contributions to the scoresheet. Barratt, however, thinks this weekend could’ve represented a change in his fortunes.

“It’s been a while. I’ve been getting chances that I’ve liked, and I haven’t been too upset with how I’m playing,” he said. “They just haven’t been going in. We haven’t been getting the bounces as a line — and for myself. We have a lot to give still. You just have to stick with what you know best, simplify, and get to the net, and eventually they’ll go in.”

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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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