Olympics: Phil Kessel scores 3 to help U.S. rout Slovenia 5-1
Published: February 16, 2014 01:50PM
Updated: February 16, 2014 11:31PM
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USA forward David Backes celebrates his goal against Slovenia during the 2014 Winter Olympics men's ice hockey game at Shayba Arena Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

Sochi, Russia • First down, gold to go.

The U.S. men’s hockey team finished its preliminary round undefeated Sunday following an easy 5-1 victory over Slovenia, showing no letdown from its emotional shootout win over Russia 24 hours earlier.

Phil Kessel bagged a hat trick, and Ryan McDonagh and David Backes added the other goals as Team USA romped.

“It’s pretty cool,” said McDonagh, the New York Rangers defenseman. “I’m just glad we got the win here to get to the quarterfinals. I think down the road in my career it’ll mean a lot.”

Team USA finished undefeated in group play for the second consecutive Olympics.

Kessel became the first American to score four goals in a three-game preliminary tournament since Bill Cleary and Roger Christian in 1960.

Jonathan Quick, who started Team USA’s first two wins, rested while Ryan Miller made his 2014 Olympic debut. He made 17 saves and was 17.6 seconds from a shutout before Marcel Rodman scored.