Sochi Olympics 2014: Phil Kessel Hat Trick Leads US Over Slovenia

Image courtesy of USA Today Sports Images

United States 5

Slovenia          1

Well if there were any worries about the Unites States being worn out after yesterday’s marathon game against Team Russia, they were were quickly put to rest. Phil Kessel scored two of his three goals in the opening five minutes of the game to give the United States an early 2-0 lead. The United States rode the 2-0 lead into the first intermission, despite the shot count being quite even, 8-7.

Kessel completed the natural hat trick eleven minutes into the second period. It was the first hat trick for the United States in over a decade. Ryan McDonagh put the United States up 4-0 a minute later. Three minutes into the third, David Backes would score the fifth and final US goal.

Prior to today’s game a few lineup changes were announced (primarily to give some key players some rest). Jonathan Quick, goaltender in the first two US games, got some rest while Ryan Miller, Olympic MVP from the Vancouver games, got his first start at the Sochi olympics. Miller had shutout going until the final seconds of the game, however Marcel Rodman scored with 17 seconds left on the clock to break it up. However, it was still an outstanding performance by Miller. Derek Stepan also replaced Max Pacioretty in the US lineup.

With the win, the United States earned an automatic spot into the Quarterfinals. Slovenia came into the game motivated after winning their first game at the Olympics in Slovenian hockey history, an upset 3-1 victory over Slovakia. The United States, as we all saw yesterday, played in one of the best hockey games so far at the 2014 Sochi games. We learned today that the United States can overcome fatigue, and have a capable second goaltender in Ryan Miller, all good signs going forward in the Olympics tournament.

All Men’s hockey teams now get a short break until Tuesday, when the Quarterfinal round play begins.

 

Topics: 2014 Sochi Olympics

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