By Erin Neri, GoPSUSports.com student staff writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Calling Bristol, Pennsylvania home, freshman Evan Barratt will look to make a big impact in his first season with Penn State. The lefty shooter comes in with quite a resume, looking to add quickness and implement a higher level of play on the ice.
For head coach Guy Gadowsky, Barratt brings a big hockey IQ, a unique asset for any incoming Nittany Lion.
"He gets points in so many different ways, he creates offense in so many different ways, just because his mind is so quick" Gadowksy said. "That applies to both sides of the puck."
Barratt fits right into the Nittany Lions' fast paced play that guided them a Big Ten Championship last year. His ability to quickly process on both offense and defenses, only serves to make him a double threat on the ice.
Barratt also brings a lot of international experience with him, including his 2017 IIHF U18 World Championship gold medal, an event he highlighted with a total of seven assists and one goal.
"Anytime you play outside the country it's
definitely a harder type of game," Barratt said. "It has definitely helped me
as a freshman."
Barratt played on both the U17 and U18 U.S. National teams before enrolling at Penn State, as well as the U.S. Junior National Team Development Program in the USHL during the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons.
Barratt's style of play has already attracted the attention of the Chicago Blackhawks, who drafted him 90th overall in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, but he hasn't let that go to his head.
"Of course it's awesome that it happened to me and I'm so thankful for it," Barratt said. "But I don't put more pressure on myself or anything, I just continue to play."
Now at Penn State, Barratt is preparing for the 2016-17 season just like any other season, working to build strength and add muscle to his frame to play at the next level.
This year, Barratt will face off against one of his teammates from last year in almost every Big Ten competition of the season, something he's excited for, but not taking lightly.
"Every game is going to be fun for me but every game is important, too," Barratt said. "It's going to be a lot of fun battling out there."
Come October 1st in an exhibition against Ottawa, Barratt will experience his first game at home in Pegula, although already having seen a packed arena last year, as well as at last week's NHL preseason game.
Suiting up in the Blue and White is also a bit of a homecoming as the Bucks County native, returns to his home state. Having moved away from home at the age of 16 to Ann Arbor, Michigan for hockey, his family can now come watch him play in front of a rowdy Hockey Valley crowd."How can you not be excited?" Barratt said. "Selling out in 2:12, I mean, you can't, not be excited for that."