After becoming the first Penn State player in program history to earn a spot on a World Junior Championship roster, sophomore forward Evan Barratt wasted no time taking over the Americans’ first tourney matchup against Slovakia in impressive fashion.
In a 1-1 stalemate with just under 15 minutes left to play in regulation, Barratt gobbled the puck in the corner boards, skated to the slot, and ripped a backhander past the Slovak netminder. His crazy goal lit up Twitter and also got him ranked at No. 6 on SportCenter’s Top-10 plays.
Barratt is no stranger to SportsCenter, as close to two months ago, he buried a miraculous lacrosse-style goal behind the back of an unsuspecting Arizona State netminder and topped the rankings that evening at No. 1.
His game-winning tally against Slovakia would drive the United States to victory in its WJC opener and earn Barratt Player of the Game honors.
“Our line was playing really well all night,” said Barratt. “Tyler Madden and Noah Cates are really good players down low. We were cycling through all night, and then we finally got a break, and I saw an opening to the net and kind of just shot it.
”I don’t really know how it went it, but it looked pretty good. We’re getting experience, and it’s definitely real now. We’re going through this tournament and taking it game by game, and (that win) was definitely a step in the right direction for us. We’re excited to see what’s coming next.”
The United States is off on Thursday before returning to action on Friday against Kazakhstan. Puck drop is set for 10:30 p.m. ET and will air on NHL Network.