SOCHI, Russia – Phil Kessel (Madison, Wis./Toronto Maple Leafs) scored three goals, each assisted by Joe Pavelski (Plover, Wis./San Jose Sharks), to help the U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team defeat Slovenia, 5-1, in the preliminary round finale for Team USA at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games. The win clinches first place in Group A for Team USA (2-1-0-0, W-OTW-OTL-L) and a berth into the quarterfinals. Kessel’s hat trick was the first by a U.S. Olympian since John LeClair achieved the feat in 2002.
Kessel began the scoring with goals at 1:04 and 4:33 of the opening period. First, Kessel deked around a defenseman, outside to inside, to earn a clear path to the net and beat goaltender Luca Gracnar low. Then, Pavelski retrieved a dump-in along the goal line and flipped the puck across the crease for Kessel to whack out of mid-air into the goal.
The U.S. doubled its lead to 4-0 with goals at 11:05 and 12:17 of the second stanza. Kessel completed his natural hat trick by tapping in the rebound from Pavelski’s right point shot. Later, Blake Wheeler (Robbinsdale, Minn./Winnipeg Jets) circled the offensive zone before stopping in the left corner and finding Ryan McDonagh (St. Paul, Minn./New York Rangers) in the far circle. McDonagh quickly snapped the puck high over the goalie’s glove.
David Backes (Minneapolis, Minn./St. Louis Blues) made it 5-0 at 3:26 of the third period, crashing the net and deflecting a Ryan Callahan (Rochester, N.Y./New York Rangers) pass just inside the right post.
Slovenia spoiled goaltender Ryan Miller’s (East Lansing, Mich./Buffalo Sabres) shutout with 18 seconds left in the game when Marcel Rodman scored. Miller finished with 17 saves.
The U.S. returns to action Wednesday (Feb. 19) in the quarterfinal round. Team USA’s opponent and game time will be decided Tuesday (Feb. 18) at the conclusion of the qualification round.
Starting with the upcoming season, USA Hockey is launching a new online curriculum in our Officiating Education Program. In addition to the standard registration requirements, including application, open and closed book testing and attendance at a USA Hockey Officiating Seminar, every official must complete the online material prior to receiving their card and crest for 2014-15.
The online curriculum is designed to enhance educational experience with accurate and consistent officiating information. The online modules will be broken down into three categories. The first two requirements will include general and level-specific presentations. The third category will have elective courses from a variety of topics such as positioning, procedures, penalty criteria and the mental game. These electives will be level-specific and allow you to hone your officiating skills in areas you select.
The length of each presentation will vary depending on content and focus. The majority of the presentations will fall in the 5- to 10-minute range, followed by a short quiz reviewing the content. The entire online curriculum will take 3-5 hours to complete, depending on the level of the official. The in-person seminar each official will be required to attend will be abbreviated and designed to supplement the material presented in the online curriculum.
Instructions on accessing the online seminar will be sent to you upon receiving your USA Hockey application. The curriculum will be accessed through your USAHockey.com profile and can be completed at your leisure, meaning you can log out and log back in to pick up where you left off. Some presentations are designed to be viewed before attending the seminar as a means to improve the overall seminar experience. These will be highlighted for your consideration.
Officials will find this new system to be beneficial and it will make your overall USA Hockey experience a more valuable one. Let’s get the season off to a great start!