SOCHI, Russia: U.S. forward Amanda Kessel appeared to score for her first Olympic hat trick, only to watch the referee skate over to the boards for a video review.
Oh, the puck was in the net all right.
But the ref had missed a goal by Kendall Coyne a few minutes earlier, so that one counted and Kessel’s had to come off the board.
“It was pretty weird, but I saw Kendall’s goal go in,” Kessel said after settling for two scores in the Americans’ 9-0 victory over Switzerland on Monday. “It was her first one of the tournament, so I was happy for my linemate.”
The Americans had more goals than they needed, anyway, getting scores from Monique Lamoureux, Brianna Decker and Kessel within 55 seconds of each other in the first period to all but clinch a spot in the Olympic women’s hockey semifinals. It was the quickest three-goal sequence in Olympic history, with the last two coming just eight seconds apart.
Kessel also had an assist on Coyne’s goal and another in the first period. Asked by a reporter to describe her goals, Kessel said: “I can’t really remember them all.”
Lamoureux and Coyne also scored twice for the Americans, and Molly Schaus made 10 saves in her Sochi debut. With a 2-0 record, the U.S. is in position for a spot in the medal round regardless of what happens on Wednesday in the game against Canada, the marquee matchup of the round-robin.
Canada defeated Finland 3-0 on Monday night in its last tuneup before the North American grudge match.
Switzerland lost for the second time and likely is headed for a spot in the quarterfinals against one of the top two teams in the bottom-tier.
Hilary Knight and Alex Carpenter also scored for the United States, which led 5-0 after one period and outshot the Swiss 53-10. Florence Schelling, who played at Northeastern, made 44 saves for Switzerland against Schaus, of Boston College, on the morning of the Beanpot finals where their schools will play for the men’s hockey bragging rights of Boston.
“We know we’re going to get lots of shots and goals against us, but we’ll tell each other let’s just keep going no matter what the score is,” Swiss forward Jessica Lutz said. “They got five goals early on, but after that we stuck with it. They didn’t have goals for a while. That’s success for us.”
The biggest mismatch so far in the women’s hockey round-robin was scoreless for half a period before Lamoureaux gave the Americans the lead and Decker added one 47 seconds later. Kessel got the puck off the ensuing faceoff, skated into the zone on the left side, passed the puck to herself off the boards to get around a defender and then cut in front of the net, where she beat Schelling.
“I’ve been watching them do that all year,” said Schaus, who was the backup for the first game and didn’t see much action in this one, either.
Coach Katey Stone said Schaus did her job, and that’s all they asked of her.
“We’re happy to have her not have a lot of shots whenever possible,” Stone said. “Because that means everyone is doing their job in front of her, too.”
Lamoreaux made it 6-0 in the second period. Coyne, another product of Northeastern, put a shot past her former teammate and raised her hands to celebrate. The goal judge turned on the red light, but the referees signaled for play to continue.
The play was almost an afterthought by the time Kessel put the puck in the net a few minutes later and the referees went to check on it. After video review, Coyne’s goal was verified and the time was put back on the clock, negating Kessel’s apparent score.
Kessel was OK with it, and that made Stone happy as well.
“It’s just one more reason why you love to coach these kids. They’re unbelievably selfless,” she said.
Short track speedskating
At 29, Charles Hamelin of Canada was the oldest skater in the first final of the short track competition. The wily veteran maintained a top-three position throughout most of the 14-lap race, leaving enough at the end to defeat a loaded field, including Viktor Ahn and silver medalist Han Tianyu of China. Ahn was a three-time gold medalist for his native South Korea, but after missing the Vancouver Games he changed his name and became a Russian citizen. When he stepped on the medals podium, the mostly Russian crowd erupted in cheers.
Michel Mulder’s 500-meter speedskating victory earned him the title of fastest man on skates. Netherlands teammate Jan Smeekens was 0.01 seconds behind for silver, and twin Ronald Mulder took bronze in a Dutch sweep.
With 2.5 kilometers still to ski, Martin Fourcade was feeling so strong he started celebrating his first Olympic gold medal.
Having hit all five targets in his final round of shooting, the Frenchman stretched his arm in the air and pumped his fist.
Minutes later, Fourcade crossed the finish line at a leisurely pace to confirm what he already knew — he had won gold in the men’s 12.5K pursuit at the Sochi Olympics.
“It was incredible. I knew the weight of that shoot to make sure [of the gold],” Fourcade said.
Fourcade’s friend and teammate, Jean Guillaume Beatrix, earned bronze, and both put France onto the medals table at the Sochi Games.
Fourcade missed one target in the standing shooting portion of the race, which he finished in 33 minutes, 48.6 seconds. Ondrej Moravec of Czech Republic finished 14.1 seconds later to take silver, and Beatrix was 24.2 seconds behind Fourcade in third.
Canada’s Alex Bilodeau defended his gold medal in Olympic men’s moguls on Monday night, fending off rival Mikael Kingsbury to become the first freestyle skier to win consecutive Olympic titles.
Bilodeau put together a perfect run in the finals to make history, posting a score of 26.31 on the slushy Rosa Khutor Extreme Park course in the medal round. In the aftermath, he reached over a retaining fence and grabbed his older brother Frederic to celebrate. Bilodeau has called his brother, who has cerebral palsy, an inspiration throughout his career.
Kingsbury endured a slight form break in the middle of his run and ended up with silver. Alexandr Smyshlyaev of Russia took bronze.
The Norwegian men, curling’s fashion kings of cool, made their Sochi debut with another snazzy pattern on their pants — a mixture of red, white, blue and gray squares and rectangles. Norway dazzled the U.S. 7-4, but the surprise of opening day was Switzerland’s upset of defending champion Canada. On the women’s side, Sweden defeated Britain 6-4 in a matchup of two favorites for the women’s curling gold.