Simon, Dusbabek Help U.S. Advance to World Quarterfinals
NOTRE DAME--Notre Dame sophomore forwards Ben Simon (Shaker Heights, Ohio) and Joe Dusbabek (Faribault, Minn.) helped the United States advance to the quarterfinal round of the World Junior Hockey Championship, following a 4-1 win Tuesday over Switzerland, in Hameenlinna, Finland.
The U.S. (2-2-0) finished third in the five-team pool B and will face the runner-up team from pool A, the Czech Republic, in Wednesday's quarterfinal action. Other quarterfinal matchups include Russia (B1) vs. Canada (A4), Switzerland (B2) vs. Sweden (A3) and Finland (A1) vs. Kazakhstan (B4).
Simon assisted on the third U.S. goal, a power-play score by Michigan State's Mike York at the 13:11 mark of the third period. It was Simon's second assist through four games at the world championship.
Jesse Boulerice opened the scoring for the U.S., assisted by York and Toby Peterson (Colorado College) at 16:42 of the opening period. Scott Gomez added to the U.S. lead with a goal midway through the second period, assisted by Ty Jones (8:27).
Switzerland cut into the lead on Alex Chatelain's power-play goal midway through the final period (10:43) but York came through on a man-up chance three minutes later, off assists from Jeff Farkas (Boston College) and Simon. York returned the favor by setting up Farkas for a power-play goal with 2:50 left to play.
Robert Esche came up with 20 saves for the U.S., which owned a commanding 38-20 shot advantage.
The United States opened the championship with a tough 6-3 loss to a Slovakia team that was one of two that failed to advance to the quarterfinal round. The U.S. bounced back by routing Kazakhstan (8-2) before losing in the final minute to Russia (3-2). Dusbabek had a goal and Simon chipped in an assist in the win over Kazakhstan.
Simon is one of eight returners from the U.S. team that claimed the silver medal at the 1996-97 World Junior Championship (in Switzerland), the highest finish for the U.S. in the tournament's 21-year history.
The tournament will be played out from Jan. 1-3 to determine first through eighth places, meaning that Dusbabek and Simon will miss this weekend's Central Collegiate Hockey Association series vs. Miami University (Jan. 2-3) at the Joyce Center Fieldhouse. They also missed last week's University of Minnesota Mariucci Classic, in which Notre Dame (10-8-2) lost to Northeastern (4-2) before beating Brown (5-1).