With USA’s 5-1 victory over Slovenia in their final game of the preliminary round, they have locked up the top spot in Group A. The team managed to get 8 out of a possible 9 points, good enough to finish ahead of fellow Group A rivals and home team, Team Russia. Much of Team USA’s success so far in the Olympic tournament has been in part due to the fantastic play of Phil Kessel.
Kessel, putting up a hat-trick against Slovenia, now leads the tournament with 7 points, 4 of which are goals. On a line with fellow Leafs line-mate James van Riemsdyk and San Jose Sharks centerman Joe Pavelski, Kessel has proven that not only is he a game-changer in the NHL, but also on the international stage.
Along with all 4 of Kessel’s goals, also comes who’s been assisting them. Joe Pavelski has assisted all of Kessel’s goals thus far. The San Jose centerman seems to be a great fit between Kessel and JVR, and if ths line can continue to produce offense the way they did in the first three games of the tournament, USA will be a very dangerous team moving forward.
With 10 points in his last 5 games leading up to the Olympic break for the Toronto Maple Leafs, fans wondered whether Kessel would be able to continue his unbelievable offensive streak into his play with Team USA. Early on in the tournament, this question has certainly been answered. It will be exciting to see how Kessel will continue to play for his country, and how he will perform in the crucial games ahead.