With Denis Smirnov out of the lineup for the past two weekends, Penn State has been in need of a leader on offense. In the Nittany Lions first game of the weekend against Arizona State, a freshman sensation put his name in the running for that role.
Rookie Evan Barratt netted his first two career goals — both on the power play — for the Lions, sparking an offensive outburst for his team en route to a 7-0 win over the Sun Devils.
Barratt has been one of the Lions most creative players, routinely setting up his teammates by any means necessary, occasionally including kicking the puck to his linemantes. The freshman foward had been snake bitten in his first seven games, however, going goalless on 10 shots.
Midway through regulation, though, Barratt netted his first goal as a Nittany Lion. Barratt pounced on the rebound of a point shot by Trevor Hamilton and backhanded a shot under a diving Joey Daccord.
On the Nittany Lions’ next man advantage, Barratt struck again. After Trevor Hamilton charged down the right side and sent a shot on goal, the rebound caromed to Barratt, who slid the puck into an open cage.
Early in the third period, another freshman forward notched his first career goal in the blue and white. After a strong effort by Brandon Biro in the corner, he found Sternschein in the slot. The Syossett, N.Y. native fired a wrist shot over Daccord’s glove.
Past the midway point of the third period, Biro extended the Lions’ lead to four, connecting on a cross-crease pass from Nate Sucese.
With just over five minutes to play, Nikita Pavlychev made it a five-goal game. After Brett Murray’s shot was stopped by Daccord, Pavlychev gathere the rebound and slung a shot over the outstretched Sun Devils’ goalie.
The Lions added a pair of tallies in garbage time. With just over a minute to play, Erik Autio swatted a rebound out of the air into the goal.
Just 36 seconds later, Sucese converted on the extra point to make it 7-0.
Chris Funkey earned the shutout on a light workload, facing just 15 shots, almost half of which came in the opening period, as the Nittany Lions outshot the Sun Devils 39-8 over the final 40 minutes.