May 17, 2017
By Katherine Harvath
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- Team USA has won six games in a row heading into the quarterfinals of the 2017 IIHF Men’s World Championship. On Tuesday, in its final Group A game, Team USA defeated Russia, 5-3, thanks to Notre Dame graduate Anders Lee’s game-winning goal.
Lee’s game winner against Russia, his fifth goal of the tournament, came off of a pass from Johnny Gaudreau which he tipped past goaltender Andrei Vasilevski for a 4-3 lead. The goal came just 11 seconds into a power play chance after Russia’s Yevgeni Kuznetsov was sent to the box for slashing.
With the win, Team USA (6-0-0-1; W-OTW-OTL-L) clinched the top seed in Group A and will play Finland in the quarterfinals on Thursday at 10:15 a.m. ET. The game will be televised live on NBCSN, in addition to being streamed on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports App.
Lee, who plays for the New York Islanders, is now on a six-game point streak, with five goals and three assists. All five of his goals have come on the power play and he leads the tournament with his five power play goals. His five goals are tied for second most on the team along with Clayton Keller, and just one shy of team leader Gaudreau, who has six goals and five assists for 11 points. Team USA is undefeated (6-0-0-0) when Lee records at least one point.
Lee has appeared in all seven games for Team USA during this year’s IIHF World Championship, whereas Bjork has played in four games and averaged just under 10 minutes of play in those games. Petersen is serving as the backup to NHL stalwarts Connor Hellebuyck (Winnipeg) and Jimmy Howard (Detroit).
Bjork and Petersen are the 14th and 15th Notre Dame players to be named to the U.S. National Team. Lee previously helped Team USA to the bronze medal in the 2015 IIHF World Championship in the Czech Republic. Notre Dame’s previous 13 players to suit up for Team USA, including Lee, have combined for 18 U.S. National Team appearances. Last season, Vince Hinostroza played for Team USA at the 2016 IIHF World Championship in Russia.
Bjork posted a career-high 52 points on 21 goals and 31 assists in 2016-17. He was named a Second Team East CCM/AHCA All-American and earned First Team Hockey East All-Star honors.
Bjork skated in 39 games and his 52 points tied for fourth in Hockey East and tied for ninth in the country. He had six game-winning goals, which tied for fifth in the country. The Irish were 22-5-2 in 2017-17 when he registered at least one point and 11-3-0 when he scored at least one goal. He posted 16 multi-point games this season, including four-point efforts against Arizona State (Oct. 8) and UConn (Oct. 28).
In Notre Dame's two games at the 2017 NCAA Northeast Regional, Bjork led the Irish with a two-goal performance against No. 1 seed Minnesota, including the game-winning goal, and he tallied the primary assist on all three goals in a 3-2 overtime win over UMass Lowell. He had five points on the weekend and was named the NCAA Northeast Regional Most Outstanding Player.
Skating in 115 career games, Bjork has scored 40 goals and added 69 assists for 109 points, which ranks tied for 42nd on Notre Dame's career points list. He notched his 100th point with an assist versus Providence (Feb. 18), becoming the 51st player in program history to reach 100 career points and the first junior to do so since Tynan and Lee in 2013.
Bjork joins father, Kirt, as the only father-son duo to earn All-America recognition while skating for the Irish and they are one of just five father-son combinations to earn All-America honors in NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey history.
As a junior captain in 2016-17, Petersen led the Irish to their third Frozen Four appearance in program history. One of five finalists for the 2017 Mike Richter Award, Petersen was selected to the NCAA Northeast Regional All-Tournament team after posting wins over Minnesota and UMass Lowell.
Petersen finished the season with a 23-12-5 record to go along with a 2.22 goals against average, a .926 save percentage and six shutouts. His save percentage ranked third in Hockey East and 11th nationally, while his six shutouts tied for the NCAA lead. Petersen's 2016-17 numbers were compiled against a tough schedule that included 18 games against top-20 offenses (teams who finished the season ranked in the top-20 nationally in goals per game).
A 2017 First Team Hockey East All-Star, Petersen led the Irish to a weekend sweep of Providence College in the Hockey East quarterfinals (March 10-11). In the two games versus the Friars, Petersen posted a 1.00 goals against average and a .973 save percentage to go along with a 43-save, game one shutout. He earned Hockey East Defensive Player of the Week honors following the series.
Petersen was also named the Hockey East Co-Defensive Player of the Week following back-to-back shutouts versus Alaska (Dec. 31 and Jan. 1), including a 34-save performance in game one of that series. From Dec. 10 to Jan. 6, Petersen went 207:10 without allowing a goal, which is the second-longest shutout streak in program history.
Petersen has started 90-consecutive games in goal for the Irish, the fourth-longest streak in NCAA history. He ranks first in career save percentage (.924) at Notre Dame, second in minutes played (6498:02), third in saves (3,042) and goals against average (2.30), tied for third in victories (55) as well as fourth in shutouts (11) and games played (110).
Lee scored a career-high 34 goals for the Islanders in 2016-17 and added 18 assists for 52 points. Lee’s 34 goals were the most by a former Notre Dame player in the NHL, besting Dave Poulin’s 31 scored with Philadelphia in 1984.
It will mark the second World Championship appearance for Lee, who has five points (1G, 4A) in 10 games with Team USA.
A Second Team (West) CCM/AHCA All-America selection in 2013, Lee played in 41 games as a junior and led Notre Dame in scoring while helping the team to a 25-13-3 overall record, a second-place regular season finish in the CCHA and the final CCHA Mason Cup championship. With 20 goals and 18 assists for 38 points he led the Irish in goals and points.
In three seasons with the Irish, Lee played in 125 games and notched 116 points on 61 goals and 55 assists.
A sixth round selection (152 overall) by the Islanders in the the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, Lee has now played in 261 NHL games for New York and has posted 145 points on 84 goals and 61 assists. In his first career game on April 2, 2013, Lee scored on his first career shot in a 5-2 win over Winnipeg.
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Katherine Harvath is in the midst of a summer internship with the Athletics Communications branch of Fighting Irish Media. Harvath is a student at Bowling Green State University where she is studying sport management.