Feb. 19, 2014
SOCHI, Russia (Gophersports.com) -- Phil Kessel scored his team-high fifth goal of the tournament as the U.S. topped the Czech Republic 5-2 in quarterfinal action at the the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.
The U.S. will now take on Canada in semifinal action at 11 a.m. CT on Friday (NBC Sports Network) in a rematch of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games gold-medal contest.
With the U.S. already up 4-1, Kessel tallied 2:01 into the third period to further pad the win for the Americans, who have won all four of their games so far by a combined score of 20-6 including a 3-2 shootout win over host Russia in the preliminary round. The U.S. also opened the Olympic Games with a 7-1 win over Slovakia and locked up Group A with a 5-1 win over Slovenia.
Kessel is the leading scorer for all teams at this year's Olympics with eight points in four games. The former Gopher also sits tied with Austria's Michael Grabner for the goal-scoring lead with five so far in Sochi including a natural hat trick against Slovenia.
Former Gophers Paul Martin and Blake Wheeler also skated for the U.S. in the win over the Czech Republic.
Gopher Hockey has a total of six representatives at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi including Phil Kessel, Blake Wheeler and Paul Martin on the U.S. roster and Thomas Vanek on Austria's roster. Former Gopher and current Columbus Blue Jackets head coach Todd Richards is serving as an assistant coach for the U.S. men's team while Hobey Baker Award winner Robb Stauber is the goalie coach for the U.S. women.
Minnesota's four Olympians are tied for the most among college hockey programs at this year's Olympics while the Gophers' 54 all-time Olympians are by far the most in all of college hockey. The Gophers have a long-standing history of competition at the Winter Olympics with a representative at every Winter Olympics dating back to 1936.
Between Minnesota's men's and women's programs, the University of Minnesota has a total of 14 representatives in Sochi -- the most among any college or university in the NCAA.
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