Phil Kessel dominant performance led the U.S. past Slovenia on Sunday, while a goal by Drew Doughty edged Canada over Finland. Kessel has been performing at an extremely high level so far for the United States in Sochi, and he was at it again on Sunday.
The Americans came into their match up with Slovenia looking to go 3-0 in the group stage and earn a bye into the quarterfinals. Coming off of a thrilling shootout victory over the Russians in their last game, Team U.S.A. was hoping to carry that momentum into Sunday.
Phil Kessel got started right away for the Americans, scoring the team’s first goal just over a minute into the opening period. A few minutes later in the period, it was Kessel finding the back of the Slovenian net again, giving the Americans an early 2-0 lead.
Midway through the second period it was Phil the Thrill striking again for the first hat trick by a U.S. Olympian in over a decade. Kessel’s hat trick marked his fourth goal of Sochi this year. The Americans followed in Kessel’s footsteps as Ryan Mcdonagh scored just a minute after his hat trick to give the U.S. a 4-0 lead.
In the third period, David Backes added another goal for the U.S., extending their lead to five. Marcel Rodman scored for Slovenia in the final minute of the third period, but that was as close as they would get.
With the victory, the U.S. went undefeated in the group stage and earned a bye directly to the quarterfinals in Sochi. Ryan Miller stopped 17 of 18 shots for the Americans, and Joe Pavelski assisted on all three of Kessel’s goals.
While it was Phil Kessel leading the way for the United States, Canada’s Drew Doughty gave them the edge in their game against Finland. Canada and Finland came into their match up both sporting 2-0 records. The winner of this game would be the winner of Group B, and like the U.S., earn a bye to the quarterfinals.
Carey Price got the start in goal for team Canada, while the Boston Bruin’s, Tuuka Rask started in net for Finland. Much of Canada’s scoring this year in Sochi has come from their defense. That trend continued for Canada on Sunday. In the first period it was Drew Doughty scoring Canada’s first power play goal of the tournament to give them a 1-0 lead.
Finland’s style of play revolves around keeping five players back on defense and making it difficult for the opposing team to get any rhythm on the offensive end. This seemed to work well against Canada, as the score remained 1-0 until midway through the second period.
In the Second it was Finland tying the game thanks to a goal by Tuomo Ruutu. The score remained scoreless through the third period, and this one went into overtime. In the extra frame it was the defense producing offense again for Team Canada. Just over two and a half minutes into overtime Drew Doughty slid a shot underneath Tuuka Rask for his second goal of the game, and his fourth of the Sochi Olympics.
Both the United States and Team Canada earned byes to the quarterfinals in Sochi after their victories on Sunday. Phill Kessel’s hat trick led the U.S. past Slovenia, while Drew Doughty’s two goals gave Canada the edge over Finland. Both team will be looking to advance to the medal rounds in Sochi.
By Eric Kummel