Olympics-Ice hockey-Kessel hat-trick powers US to win over Slovenia

Reuters

(Corrects to Slovenia in first par, Group A in 3rd par)

SOCHI, Russia, Feb 16 (Reuters) - Phil Kessel took just a minute to open the scoring before going on to record a natural hat-trick as the United States beat Slovenia 5-1 on Sunday and secure a bye into the quarter-finals of the men's ice hockey tournament at the Sochi Games.

Kessel scored after 63 seconds to give the 2010 silver medallists a 1-0 advantage, then scored twice more without interruption to build the Americans' lead to 3-0.

The win concluded the three-game preliminary round for the undefeated United States, who advance to the quarter-finals by virtue of winning Group A.

Slovenia, who spoiled netminder Ryan Miller's shutout bid with 18 seconds left, will play a qualification game on Tuesday against an as-yet undetermined opponent with a berth in the quarter-finals on the line. (Reporting by Frank Pingue; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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