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Penn State Hockey: Back from the International Stage, Barratt and Talvitie Share Plenty on Opposite Ends of Dramatic Game

by on January 15, 2019 4:50 PM

As Penn State forwards Evan Barratt and Aarne Talvitie talk about their World Junior Tournament experiences from opposite sides of the room, there are lot of things they both share.

They are both grateful to have represented their country. They're both proud to have done so well in the tournament, both having scored, both having helped their nations. They both were glad to have a teammate on another roster that they could follow and keep an eye on.

But there is a binary, undeniable fact they do not share coming out of a 3-2 game.

Talvitie won, and Barratt lost.

That's the unique reality in Penn State's locker room following the World Junior Tournament championship game. The only team in America that faces it. Talvitie and Finland beat the United States for the gold medal in one of the most prestigious hockey tournaments in the sport. Talvitie captaining his team, Barratt centering the American's second line.

And as Talvitie raised the trophy above his head, Barratt had to watch. Teammate or not, friend or not, it hurt.

Even so, back in State College the shared positive experiences outweigh the painful ones, something of a healing process Barratt began as both teams worked their way through the postgame handshake line.

"Honestly it's as soon as that's game's over," Barratt said about any potential awkwardness. "I told (Talvitie) in line when we we're going through that I'm very happy for you, and we've got one of each now since we were fortunate enough to beat Finland in the U18 Championship, so i was very happy from him. But as soon as we're back here we both know what we want to do here so we put it past us."

And any chirping from the Fin?

"No, I think it's still a sensitive spot, so I won't say anything for a few weeks," Talvitie said with a laugh.

Of course there was a price to be paid for the hardware. Talvitie will undergo season-ending surgery following a hard hit he took into the boards during the game.

"I thought I would be good to go," Talvitie said. "But after I felt (something) snap, I knew I had to get off the ice for good."

In turn it brings up the always present gamble that athletes take at every level when they compete away from their primary team. What risks are worth it, especially as Penn State will play the rest of the year without it's best newcomer.

It's a gamble that head coach Guy Gadowsky didn't hesitate in supporting. A Canadian himself, having to watch Talvitie get the primary assist on the goal that knocked the Canadians out of the tournament in overtime.

“I don’t want to speak for Aarne but I think if you were to say ‘you get a chance to win a World Juniors gold medal that you would have to miss the rest of the season’ I think there would be a lot of guys that would take that right away,” Gadowsky said. “I understand that it’s a risk but it’s one that we will support out student athletes in that endeavor every chance we get.”

And would Talvitie make that trade again?

"Yes," he said with a smile, and possibly a wince as he shifted his weight.

Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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