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On Campus: Barratt leading Penn State with hockey IQ, competitive drive

Blackhawks prospect is 'high-intensity, emotional leader on the team'

by Mark Divver / Independent Correspondent

Evan Barratt, a Chicago Blackhawks prospects, has become the go-to scorer for Penn State University this season.

The 20-year-old junior forward came through in a 4-4 tie with Big 10 rival Michigan on Saturday, scoring the tying goal with 1:22 left and the Penn State goalie on the bench for an extra attacker. The late goal capped a performance in which Barratt scored two goals and assisted on another.

Selected by the Blackhawks in the third round (No. 90) of the 2017 NHL Draft, he is one of the most productive offensive players on a high-powered Penn State team.

Barratt (6-foot, 188 pounds) is tied for the Penn State lead and is ninth among all NCAA players with 28 points (nine goals, 19 assists) in 24 games.

"There's a couple of things about Evan Barratt that really stand out," Penn State coach Guy Gadowsky said. "His hockey IQ is one of them. He does things at game speed that most people wouldn't even think about trying, let alone executing. His hockey IQ is certainly elite, that's for sure.

"The other thing about him is that he's got that intangible competitiveness. He's a high-intensity, emotional leader on the team. When he's going and flying, the team is going and flying right along with him."

Derek Plante, a Blackhawks development coach, agrees that the way Barratt thinks the game sets him apart.

"He's a little bit of a different type player," Plante said. "He doesn't necessarily fit into the normal, super-fast, super-strong box. His biggest asset is his hockey sense. He's not super fleet of foot. I think he skates fine, but when you go to a game you're not going to notice his skating. Then at the end of the night he's got a point or two and he just does it by subtly making a lot of plays."

A native of Bristol, Pennsylvania, Barratt played for Team Comcast U-16s before spending two seasons with the USA Hockey National Team Development Program.

"We'd seen him earlier and he'd always been that really high-emotion, high-compete player who does some great vision things on the ice," Gadowsky said. "Quite honestly we were hoping that's what he'd be able to achieve at this level. But I'm not even sure we could imagine him pulling off the things we've seen him pull off the last three years in terms of his skill and vision with the puck and, quite honestly, even just his competitiveness and knack to succeed."

Lacrosse-style goals have drawn a lot of attention lately, but Barratt has been there, done that, scoring one against Arizona State University in 2018.

"He has been fun to watch," Gadowsky said.


Allison's back

Wade Allison of Western Michigan has had a difficult time with injuries the past few seasons, but when he's healthy he puts up numbers.

The 22-year-old senior forward (6-2, 205) scored a goal in a win against Colorado College on Friday, then scored and had three assists as Western Michigan completed its sweep Saturday.

Selected by the Philadelphia Flyers in the second round (No. 52) by the in the 2016 NHL Draft, Allison has nine points (three goals, six assists) in 13 games.


Puck stops with Saville

Thanks to goalie Isaiah Saville, Nebraska-Omaha earned a pair of ties against Denver this past weekend.

Saville (6-1, 193), a 19-year-old freshman, made 27 saves in a 1-1 tie Friday and a season-high 45 saves in a 2-2 tie Saturday.

Saville was selected by the Vegas Golden Knights in the fifth round (No. 135) of the 2019 NHL Draft. He is 7-6-4 with an .898 save percentage in 18 games.


Hall breaks out

Curtis Hall has exploded for 12 goals in 13 games so far this season.

Hall (6-3, 197), a sophomore center at Yale University, was selected by the Boston Bruins in the fourth round (No. 119) of the 2018 NHL Draft, and scored five goals in 24 games last season.

He equaled that in his first six games this season. Since returning from playing for the United States at the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship, Hall has six goals in four games. That includes back-to-back two-goal games in wins against Union College and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute on Friday and Saturday. He has 14 points (12 goals, two assists) in 13 games this season.


Firstov leads

Vladislav Firstov scored three goals in two games as the University of Connecticut got back on the winning track after losing four in a row.

Firstov (6-1, 181) scored the game-winner in a 3-2 victory against Maine on Jan. 15, then scored twice in a 3-2 overtime win against Northeastern University on Saturday.

The 18-year-old freshman from the Czech Republic was selected by the Minnesota Wild in the second round (No. 42) of the 2019 Draft. He leads Connecticut with 16 points (nine goals, seven assists) in 23 games.

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