Eye on Sochi: Team USA wins three games to advance

Ex-Gopher Phil Kessel had a hat trick.

Betsy Helfand

The U.S. men’s hockey team won its first three games over the weekend, defeating Slovakia, Russia and Slovenia.

Team USA will have a bye in the next round and will advance to the quarterfinals of the tournament.

The U.S. team will hold the No. 2 seed.

The most recent game was Sunday against Slovenia.

In that matchup, former Gophers forward Phil Kessel recorded a hat trick that helped pace the team to a 5-1 win. Blake Wheeler, another former Gophers forward, recorded an assist.

A day earlier, the Americans defeated Russia in highly dramatic fashion with a 3-2 shootout win.

T.J. Oshie, who attended high school in Warroad, was the star for the U.S. Oshie took six shots and made four in the eight-round shootout.

Kessel added an assist in the win.

Team USA began play Thursday with a 7-1 win over Slovakia.

Kessel scored a goal and recorded two assists in the win.

Finland women lose

Finland’s women’s hockey team, which was considered the bronze-medal favorite, is no longer in medal contention after a loss to Sweden.

Sweden beat Finland 4-2 on Saturday, scoring all of its goals in the third period.

Former Gophers goaltender Noora Räty made 28 saves in the game.

Finland played again Sunday and beat Germany 2-1. Räty made 20 saves.

Team USA ready for action

The U.S. women’s hockey team has been off since Wednesday’s 3-2 loss to Canada.

Team USA will play Sweden in the semifinals Monday. The winner of that game will advance to the gold-medal game and play the winner of the Canada-Switzerland matchup.

Vanek competes for Team Austria

The Austrian men’s hockey team, which includes former Gophers forward Thomas Vanek, is 1-2 in Olympic competition. It has lost to Finland and Canada but beat Norway on Sunday.

Vanek has one assist in three games. It came in the team’s loss to Finland.