USA rolls Slovenia 5-1 to earn automatic spot in quarterfinals
SOCHI, Russia — Phil Kessel scored two of his three goals in the opening five minutes and became the first U.S. player to record an Olympic hat trick in more than a decade, leading the Americans to a 5-1 win over Slovenia on Sunday.
Kessel scored 1:04 after the puck dropped, removing any thought the Americans would have a hangover after their emotionally charged shootout win against Russia on Saturday. His third goal midway through the second period made him the first U.S. player to score a hat trick at the Olympics since John LeClair did it on Feb. 15, 2002, against Finland.
Kessel is the first American to score four goals in the three-game preliminary round of the Olympic tournament since Bill Cleary and Roger Christian in 1960. Fittingly, the native of Madison, Wis., and his teammates were sporting throwback jerseys in the style Cleary and Christian wore at the games in Squaw Valley – "USA" from right shoulder to left hip.