Kessel scores first U.S. hat trick at Olympics in 12 years


Phil Kessel’s outstanding Olympic tournament continued on Sunday, as he recorded a natural hat trick in what is shaping up to be a blowout victory over Slovenia.

It marks the first American hatty at the Winter Games since John Leclair turned the trick at Salt Lake in 2002. Leclair accomplished the feat during a tournament-opening 6-0 rout of Finland.

Kessel, who came into today’s game with four points through his first two contests, opened the scoring just 1:04 into the affair, converting a Joe Pavelski pass to give the Americans a 1-0 lead. Just over three minutes later Kessel was at it again, converting another Pavelski setup (with a secondary marker going to Brooks Orpik.)

VIDEO: Watch Kessel’s hat trick

The Maple Leafs forward finished the hatty midway though the second period after converting a pass from — who else? — Pavelski, which gave the U.S. a 3-0 lead. Ryan McDonagh scored with just under eight minutes remaining in the frame to give the Americans a four-goal lead heading into the second intermission.

Related: Carter scores Canada’s first natural hat trick at Olympics in 58 years