SOCHI, Russia – The U.S. women’s hockey team cranked up its offensive machine and made Olympic history on Monday.
Getting two goals each from Amanda Kessel, Monique Lamoureux and Kendall Coyne, the U.S. routed Switzerland, 9-0, to win their second game in the preliminary round of the Sochi Olympics tournament.
The victory included three goals in 55 seconds during the first period, which sets a new Olympic record for fastest three goals in a game. Lamoureux, Brianna Decker and Kessel had the tallies at 9:20, 10:07 and 10:15 of the first period. That made it 3-0; goals by Hillary Knight and another from Kessel closed out a 5-0 first period.
“I think we suck all the energy out of the other team. We just keep pounding them and pounding them,” said Kessel.
The young American star looked like she had a first period hat trick.
Turns out Kessel would end up with a hat trick of “phantom hat tricks” for the game.
The first phantom hat trick came when Kessel scored at 15:42 of the first period. It appeared she had scored twice in eight seconds earlier in the period – part of that Olympic record – but the first goal of the game was credited, correctly, to Decker. (The second was an awesome individual effort from Kessel, slicing through the Swiss defense like they were … well, you get it.)
The second phantom hat trick came when Kessel put the puck into the Swiss net in the third period, setting off a celebration: One problem: Moments earlier, Coyne had slipped the puck behind Florence Schelling before it was swept out by a Swiss defender. The officials went to video review, and Coyne’s goal counted at 49 seconds of the third – and Kessel’s goal never happened.
The third phantom hat trick came with the puck and Kessel in tight on the Swiss net. She appeared to bang it home, but it was Coyne, again, who actually kicked the puck into Schelling’s pads and tucked it behind her with her stick.
Three times it appeared Kessel had her hat trick. Three times it was denied.
But the bottom line for the Americans, as they stare down a meeting with arch rival Canada on Wednesday, is that their top line produced 10 points and Kessel had four of them.
“She’s really battled through this year, and you’re starting to see all the hard work paying off,” said Monique Lamoureux of Kessel, who rehabbed an injury throughout 2013.
Kessel said she needed the team’s opener against Finland to get back into a comfort zone.
“Seeing the ice a little bit better, getting my feel,” she said.
And maybe next time, that elusive hat trick.
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