After injury, Amanda Kessel back for USA hockey

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 10, 2014 at 12:53 pm •  Published: February 10, 2014
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SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Amanda Kessel doesn't need a camera for a selfie.

The forward for the U.S. women's hockey team scored her first Olympic goal virtually on her own, receiving the puck from a center-ice faceoff, skating over the blue line, passing the puck to herself off the boards, circling back in front of the net and stick-handling around the Swiss goalie for the score.

"I guess it's an assist by the boards," she said after the 9-0 victory over Switzerland on Monday that all-but clinched a spot in the semifinals for the Americans, the defending world champions and the 2010 silver medalists.

Kessel scored twice — and three other times had goals that were temporarily credited to her before being taken off the board or given to someone else. One time her name was announced but she touched the puck after it crossed the goal line; one time it was Kendall Coyne's rebound that put the puck in the net; another time Kessel scored but video replay showed Coyne had scored a few minutes earlier but the referee missed it.

"It was her first one of the tournament," Kessel said, "so I was happy for my linemate."

The sister of NHL star and men's Olympic hockey team forward Phil Kessel, Amanda Kessel was the nation's leading scorer in college last season — the fourth player in NCAA history to reach 100 points — while leading Minnesota to its second straight national championship.

She postponed her senior year to play for Team USA, but she had hip surgery and missed the pre-Olympic tuneup tour. After taking part in a few scrimmages against boys teams during training camp in Massachusetts, coach Katey Stone pronounced her ready to go.

Kessel didn't take long to have an impact in Sochi.

"She's one of the best in the world," said Finland goalie Noora Raty, who was Kessel's teammate on the NCAA championship teams in Minnesota. "I told her before the game, 'You can score against anyone else, but not me.'"

That's pretty much how it worked out.

After being held without a point or assist in the United States' opening game against Finland, she had two goals and two assists against Switzerland.

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