Dec. 18, 1997
Notre Dame's Dusbabek, Simon Named to U.S. National Junior Hockey Team
HACKENSACK, N.J. - Notre Dame sophomore forwards Joe Dusbabek (Faribault, Minn.) and Ben Simon (Shaker Heights, Ohio) have been named to the 22-player United States national junior team, which will compete in the upcoming World Junior Championship, Dec. 25-Jan. 3 in Helsinki and Hameenlinna, Finland.
Dusbabek and Simon emerged from a 28-player tryout camp and are two of 10 current college players who will represent the U.S. in Finland. They join Michigan State forward Mike York as the only players on the 1997-98 U.S. national junior team who currently play for schools in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association.
Boston College placed three players on the national junior team, followed by Notre Dame (2), Wisconsin (1), Providence (1), Minnesota (1) and MSU (1). Virtually all of the players on the national junior team--18 of 22 (including both Notre Dame players)--competed with the U.S. in late August at the international Tampere Cup in Finland. Simon and Dusbabek will miss four upcoming Notre Dame games while competing with the national junior team, including the prestigious University of Minnesota Mariucci Classic (Dec. 27-28) and a two-game homestand vs. Miami University (Jan. 2-3). Simon missed three Irish games last season while helping the U.S. capture the silver medal at the 1996-97 World Junior Championship in Switzerland. The runner-up showing represented the best U.S. finish in the 21-year history of the tournament and was highlighted by a tie vs. Canada in the round-robin play. Simon is one of five returning forwards from that 1996-97 U.S. world junior team, joining York, former linemate Farkas, Jess Boulerice (Mooers, N.Y.) and Toby Peterson (Colorado College). The U.S. also returns defensemen Chris Hajt (Amherst, N.Y.) and Paul Mara (Belmont, Mass.) and goaltender Robert Esche (Whitesboro, N.Y.) from last year's silver-medal-winning team.
Dusbabek and Simon have faced five of their national teammates this season: Boston College's Farkas, forward Brian Gionta and defenseman Mike Mottau, MSU's York and Wisconsin forward Dustin Kuk. BC won an exciting game at Notre Dame, 3-2, with Mottau scoring the first goal and assisting on the second to sparked an Eagles' comeback from a 2-0 deficit (Simon scored the second Irish goal in that game). Notre Dame lost at home to MSU on Oct. 31 (5-1), with Simon scoring a goal and York notching an assist, but the Irish then posted a stunning win at MSU the next day, with Simon totaling a goal and an assist. The Spartans won the series finale, at home on Nov. 8 (3-1), with Dusbabek assisting on the lone Irish goal.
The Irish won at Wisconsin on Dec. 10 (4-2), with Simon netting his third shorthanded goal of the season and Dusbabek notching an assist, before the Badgers overcame two assists from Simon to win two days later at Notre Dame (3-2), with Kuk netting the game-winner. The national junior team includes a sixth player from a team on Notre Dame's 1997-98 schedule--Minnesota forward Aaron Miskovich, who will join Simon and Dusbabek in missing the Mariucci Classic. The other current college players on the national junior team are Colorado College's Peterson and Providence forward Jay Leach.
Simon and Dusbabek are two of 15 National Hockey League draft picks on the 1997-98 U.S. national junior team. Simon was selected in the fifth round by the Chicago Blackhawks last spring, followed by Dusbabek's seventh-round selection by the San Jose Sharks.
Simon has had a strong start to his second season with the Irish. The speedy center leads Notre Dame and ranks eighth in the CCHA with 21 points (8 goals, 13 assists), having notched a point in 14 of 18 games this season. Dusbabek has struggled to find the net, after sharing for the Irish scoring lead (13 G, 12 A) as a freshman. The physical Dusbabek has just one goal on 36 shots from his right wing spot this season but is tied for fourth on the team with nine assists.
1997-98 U.S. National Junior Hockey Team
Name Ht./Wt. Birthdate S/C 1996-97 Team Hometown GOALTENDERS (2) 31 Robert Esche*# 6-2/200 7/5/78 L Plymouth (OHL) Whitesboro, NY 01 Jean-Marc Pelletier# 6-3/200 3/4/78 L Rimvski (QMJHL) Atlanta, GA DEFENSEMEN (7) 04 Chris Hajt*# 6-4/210 7/5/78 L Guelph Storm (OHL) Amherst, NY 06 Kevin Kellet# 6-1/200 7/23/78 R Prince Albert (WHL) Lewiston, ME 05 Jay Leach 6-3/205 9/2/79 L Providence College Altamont, NY 02 Paul Mara*# 6-4/205 9/7/79 L Sudbury Wolves (OHL) Belmont, MA 26 Mike Mottau# 6-0/190 3/19/78 L Boston College Avon, MA 07 Chris St. Croix# 6-2/185 5/2/79 R Kamloops Blazers(WHL) Voorhees, N.J. 03 Nikos Tselios# 6-2/185 1/3/78 L Plymouth (OHL) Glen Ellyn, IL FORWARDS (13) 18 Jesse Boulerice*# 6-3/215 8/10/78 R Plymouth (OHL) Mooers, NY 12 Kevin Colley 5-9/175 1/4/79 R Oshawa (OHL) New Haven, CT 33 Joe Dusbabek# 6-1/195 5/1/78 R Univ. of Notre Dame Faribault, MN 19 Jeff Farkas*# 6-1/160 1/24/78 L Boston College Williamsville, NY 24 Brian Gionta# 5-8/150 1/18/79 R Boston College Rochester, NY 11 Scott Gomez# 5-11/170 12/23/79 L Tri-Cities (WHL) Anchorage, AK 17 Ty Jones# 6-3/215 2/22/79 R Spokane Chiefs (WHL) Eagle River, AK 29 Dustin Kuk 6-1/185 1/29/79 L Univ. of Wisconsin Livonia, MI 09 David Legwand# 6-1/170 8/17/80 L Plymouth (OHL) Grosse Pt. Woods, MI 15 Aaron Miskovich# 5-10/170 4/28/78 L Univ. of Minnesota Grand Rapids, MN 25 Toby Petersen*# 5-10/195 10/27/78 L Colorado College Bloomington, MN 08 Ben Simon*# 6-0/175 6/14/78 L Univ. of Notre Dame Shaker Heights, OH 16 Mike York* 5-11/170 1/3/78 R Michigan State Waterford, MI * = member of 1996-97 U.S. junior national team # = member of 1997 U.S. Tampere Cup team STAFF: head coach Jeff Jackson, assistants Greg Cronin and Bob Mancini