Oh, the puck was in the net all right.
But the ref had missed a goal by Kendall Coyne a few minutes earlier, so that one counted and Kessel's had to come off the board.
"It was pretty weird, but I saw Kendall's goal go in," Kessel said after settling for two scores in the Americans' 9-0 victory over Switzerland on Monday. "It was her first one of the tournament, so I was happy for my linemate."
The Americans had more goals than they needed, anyway, getting scores from Monique Lamoureux, Brianna Decker and Kessel within 55 seconds of each other in the first period to all but clinch a spot in the Olympic women's hockey semifinals. It was the quickest three-goal sequence in Olympic history, with the latst two coming just eight seconds apart.
Kessel also had an assist on Coyne's goal and another in the first period. Asked by a reporter to describe her goals, Kessel said: "I can't really remember them all."
Lamoureux and Coyne also scored twice for the Americans, and Molly Schaus made 10 saves in her Sochi debut. With a 2-0 record, the U.S. is in position for a spot in the medal round regardless of what happens on Wednesday in the game against Canada, the marquee matchup of the round-robin.
Canada was scheduled to play Finland on Monday night in its last tuneup before the North American grudge match.
Switzerland lost for the second time and likely is headed for a spot in the quarterfinals against one of the top two teams in the bottom-tier.
Hilary Knight and Alex Carpenter also scored for the United States, which led 5-0 after one period and outshot the Swiss 53-10. Florence Schelling, who played at Northeastern, made 44 saves for Switzerland against Schaus, of Boston College, on the morning of the Beanpot finals where their schools will play for the men's hockey bragging rights of Boston.
"We know we're going to get lots of shots and goals against us, but we'll tell each other let's just keep going no matter what the score is," Swiss forward Jessica Lutz said. "They got five goals early on, but after that we stuck with it. They didn't have goals for a while. That's success for us."
The biggest mismatch so far in the women's hockey round-robin was scoreless for half a period before Lamoureaux gave the Americans the lead and Decker added one 47 seconds later. Kessel got the puck off the ensuing faceoff, skated into the zone on the left side, passed the puck to herself off the boards to get around a defender and then cut in front of the net, where she beat Schelling.
"I've been watching them do that all year," said Schaus, who was the backup for the first game and didn't see much action in this one, either.
Coach Katey Stone said Schaus did her job, and that's all they asked of her.
"We're happy to have her not have a lot of shots whenever possible," Stone said. "Because that means everyone is doing their job in front of her, too."
Lamoreaux made it 6-0 in the second period. Coyne, another product of Northeastern, put a shot past her former teammate and raised her hands to celebrate. The goal judge turned on the red light, but the referees signaled for play to continue.
The play was almost an afterthought by the time Kessel put the puck in the net a few minutes later and the referees went to check on it. After video review, Coyne's goal was verified and the time was put back on the clock, negating Kessel's apparent score.
Kessel was OK with it, and that made Stone happy as well.
"It's just one more reason why you love to coach these kids. They're unbelievably selfless," she said, noting that Coyne also went to Northeastern. "Kendall was working hard to get one in there against her former teammate and she did. It's just a testament to them: It doesn't matter who puts the puck in the net, it's making sure that we recognize the effort all the way around."
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