SOCHI, Russia — Phil Kessel scored two of his three goals in the opening 4:33 and became the first U.S. player with an Olympic hat trick in more than a decade, leading the Americans to a 5-1 win over Slovenia on Sunday.
The U.S. (3-0) earned an automatic spot in the quarterfinals.
Ryan Miller was 17.6 seconds away from a shutout, but Marcel Rodman scored. Miller made 17 saves in his Sochi Games debut after backing up Jonathan Quick in the Americans’ opening two games.
Kessel scored 1:04 after the puck dropped, showing that the Americans did not have a hangover after their emotionally charged shootout win over Russia on Saturday. His third goal midway through the second period made him the first U.S. player to have a hat trick at the Olympics since John LeClair did it on Feb. 15, 2002, against Finland.