Continued from page 1

The U.S. has a 2-0 record and is virtually assured of a spot in the semifinals even before playing Canada on Wednesday in a North American grudge match. Canada is also unbeaten after two games, though it needed almost 50 minutes to break a scoreless tie against Finland before winning 3-0.

Switzerland lost for the second time and is headed for a spot in the quarterfinals against one of the top two teams in the bottom-tier. Finland and Switzerland will play in the other Group A game Wednesday for seeding.

Monique Lamoureux, Brianna Decker and Kessel scored in a span of 55 seconds midway through the first period to turn a scoreless tie into a 3-0 U.S. lead. It was the quickest three-goal sequence in Olympic history, and Kessel just needed eight seconds after the center-ice faceoff following Decker’s goal to add one of her own.

She was around the net twice more when goals were scored, settling for assists after being announced as the scorer.

Kessel didn’t mind, and that’s one more reason coach Katey Stone is glad to have her on the team.

“You love to coach these kids. They’re unbelievably selfless,” Stone said. “It’s just a testament to them: It doesn’t matter who puts the puck in the net, it’s making sure that we recognize the effort all the way around.”

___

Follow Jimmy Golen on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/jgolen.