January 5, 1999

SELKIRK, Manitoba – The United States finished its six-game schedule at the World Junior Championship with a 5-4 victory over Switzerland and a 7-2 win over Belarus, in relegation round action that provided an eighth-place finish for the USA in the 10-team tournament.

Notre Dame sophomore left wing Dan Carlson (Edina, Minn.) scored a crucial goal in the win over Switzerland, forging a 4-4 tie at the 14:57 mark of the second period in a game played Jan. 3 in Portage La Prarie, Manitoba. Carlson, who was assisted by linemates Brian Gionta and Scott Gomez, moved onto that line in place of flu-stricken Bowling Green freshman Ryan Murphy and responded by one-timing a shot into the net.

Colorado College right wing Justin Morrison scored the game-winner at the 7:40 mark of the third period, knocking home a rebounded shot by center Andy Hilbert, as the USA completed its comeback from a pair of three-goal deficits.

The win over Belarus on Jan. 4 in Selkirk featured two goals each from Hilbert and Morrison and 33 saves by Chris Madden, who picked up his first victory of the tournament.

Carlson–who is expected to rejoin the Irish on Jan. 6 in preparation for this weekend’s game’s at Bowling Green and at home vs. Miami-was one of 12 forwards and 15 collegians on the USA roster and is the third Notre Dame player to appear in the World Juniors during the past three years. Current Irish junior center Ben Simon played on the 1996-97 silver-medal-winning team while junior right wing Joe Dusbabek joined Simon on last year’s fifth-place team.

The USA’s leading scorers in the tournament included Boston College right wing Gionta (6G, 5 A), center Gomez (3G, 7 A), Maine right wing William Heisten (2G, 4A), Morrisson (3G, 2A), Hilbert (2G, 3A) and defenseman Paul Mara (1 G, 4 A).

Madden posted a 3.82 goals-against average and .870 save percentage in 220 minutes or work while Michigan State freshman Joe Blackburn finished with a 3.03 GAA and .909 save pct. in 139 minutes.

SWITZERLAND GAME NOTES: Switzerland owned a 3-0 lead midway through the first period-behind a 5-on-3 goal, a shorthanded score and an even-strength breakaway goal-before Mara smacked home a 5-on-3 pass from center David Legwand at 12:35 Switzerland answered with another shorthanded goal 16 seconds later but was held scoreless by Blackburn and the USA defense over the game’s final 47 minutes Gionta closed out the first-period scoring frenzy with a power-play goal at 15:01, tapping home a pass from Gomez the USA tied the game with two goals in a 59-second stretch of the second period Lake Superior freshman right wing Mike Vigilante knocked in a rebounded shot by defenseman David Tanabe at 13:58 before Carlson scored to force a 4-4 game Blackburn finished with 31 saves.

BELARUS GAME NOTES: Other USA goals came from Legwand, Vigilante and Heisten Hilbert’s early shorthanded goal opened the scoring before a Belarus shot bounced off the stick of USA defenseman Jeff Jillson and into the net Legwand’s rebound goal at 17:07 of the first period gave the USA a 2-1 lead but Belarus again tied the game, early in the second period Morrison then finished a centering pass from Hilbert at 6:05 of the second period and Vigilante scored 38 seconds later by knocking home a loose puck Heisten’s power-play goal at 11:02 provided a 5-2 cushion, after rebounded shots from Gionta and Gomez Morrison added a breakaway goal with 12:38 left to play before Hilbert one-timed a pass from Boston University right wing Mike Pandolfo with 9:08 remaining.