USA women defeat Switzerland behind strong showing from Kessel's line

The Gophers forward had two goals and two assists as the U.S. secured a semifinal berth.

– Three times on Monday, Amanda Kessel thought she had achieved her first hat trick in international competition. The announcer at Shayba Arena, and the scoreboard hanging from the ceiling, credited her with goals that would have given her that milestone as the United States steamrolled Switzerland 9-0 in its second game of the Sochi Olympics.

Video review showed that each of those goals actually was scored by a teammate. So Kessel, the Gophers forward and Olympic rookie, missed one mark — but still ended up with two goals and two assists as the U.S. moved to 2-0 in the tournament and secured a spot in the semifinals. Linemate Kendall Coyne matched that, and Monique Lamoureux also scored twice with primary assists from twin sister Jocelyne.

Swiss goaltender Florence Schelling, who played college hockey at Northeastern and is considered one of the premier goalies in the women’s game, held off the Americans for the first 9 minutes, 20 seconds. They scored three goals in the next 55 seconds, an Olympic women’s hockey record for the fastest three goals. The U.S. added two more in a span of 1:19 later in the period to take a 5-0 lead into the first intermission.

“We just kept going,’’ said Kessel, who is tied with teammates Coyne and Hilary Knight as the tournament’s leading scorer with four points. “It’s tough when you’ve got us firing on all cylinders like that. They obviously have a great goaltender, but when we’re coming that hard at her, it’s hard to save all of them.

“We suck all the energy out of the other team. It’s tough to get back up on your feet when we keep pounding them and pounding them.’’

The Swiss won the bronze medal at the 2012 world championships and are considered a contender for bronze in Sochi. The U.S. subdued them with another display of stunning speed and synchronicity, battering Schelling with 53 shots while allowing only 10 to get to American goalie Molly Schaus.

Kessel said she would have liked to have gotten the hat trick, but she was happy to see her linemates get the credit they earned — particularly Coyne, who played with Schelling in college.

“That’s just one more reason why you love these kids,’’ U.S. coach Katey Stone said. “[Coyne] was working hard to get one in against her former teammate, and it’s a testament to Kessel’s character to give credit where credit is due. They’re just incredibly selfless.’’

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  • Amanda Kessel (28) shot the puck past Switzerland goalie Florence Schelling (41) in the first period. Kessel had two goals in the game. USA beat Switzerland by a final score of 9-0 at Shayba Arena on Monday.

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