SOCHI, Russia — Amanda Kessel scooped up the puck near center ice, weaved her way through what appeared to be the entire nation of Switzerland and deposited it into the back of the net.
It was the prettiest of the avalanche of goals with which the United States buried the Swiss during a 9-0 shellacking on Monday at Shayba Arena, but more importantly, it came during an effort that signaled the Americans are hitting on all cylinders with a showdown against arch-rival Canada looming.
The win improved the U.S. to 2-0 in the preliminary round and assured it a spot in the semifinals.
Any fear the Americans would look past the Swiss in anticipation of Wednesday's meeting with tournament co-favorite Canada was obliterated during a first-period offensive onslaught as the U.S. set an Olympic record with three goals within a 55-second span and a team-record five in a 6:22 window.
"We need to play up to our speed all the time," said Jocelyne Lamoureux, who assisted on both of twin sister Monique Lamoureux's two goals in the game. "We have Canada on Wednesday and we're going to have to maintain that speed the entire game."
In addition to the Lamoureux twins' efforts, Kessel and Kendall Coyne each had two goals and two assists while Hilary Knight and Brianna Decker each added a score and a helper.
That made for an easy afternoon for goaltender Molly Schaus, who stopped all 10 of the shots she faced. At the other end, Florence Schelling was bombarded by 53 shots of all makes and models.
"Any of these games you want to be going on all cylinders," Schaus said. "We're at the Olympics; it's kind of what we've been training for our whole lives. The first game (against Finland on Saturday) you kind of get those nerves out and we built on that and played really well. The team has done a great job of staying focused. The second that buzzer ended (against Finland) our focus shifted to Switzerland. Now we'll get back in there and digest this game and turn ahead for Canada on Wednesday."
The Canadians did their part to build the hype for the clash by remaining undefeated in the tournament with a 3-0 victory over Finland later Monday.
"Now that we have that bye into the semis we want that No. 1 seed," Monique Lamoureux said. "It might make our draw a little bit easier down the road. Any game against Canada we're going to be ready for and we know we're going to have to have our best game to be able to come out on top."
Short Track Speedskating
Charles Hamelin of Canada raced to the 1,500-meter short track speedskating gold, and Viktor Ahn earned the bronze to give Russia its first-ever short track medal.
At 29, Hamelin was the oldest skater in the first final of the short track competition. The wily veteran maintained a top-three position throughout most of the 14-lap race, leaving enough at the end to defeat a loaded field, including Ahn and silver medalist Han Tianyu of China.
Ahn was a three-time gold medalist for his native South Korea, but after missing the Vancouver Games he changed his name and became a Russian citizen. When he stepped on the medals podium, the mostly Russian crowd erupted in wild cheers.
Michel Mulder of the Netherlands earned the 500-meter speedskating gold.
Mulder's victory earned him the title of fastest man on skates. Teammate Jan Smeekens was 0.01 seconds behind for silver, and twin Ronald Mulder took bronze in a Dutch sweep.
Martin Fourcade won the 12.5-kilometer biathlon pursuit. Fourcade's win earned France its first medal. Ondrej Moravec of Czech Republic took the silver, and Jean Guillaume Beatrix of France earned bronze.
Ole Einar Bjoerndalen of Norway finished fourth, missing out on a record 13th Winter Olympic medal.
Alex Bilodeau won his second consecutive gold medal in men's moguls. Bilodeau became the Olympics' first repeat winner in the event.
Canadian teammate Mikael Kingsbury won the silver, giving the Canadians a 1-2 finish in both men's and women's moguls.
The Norwegian men, curling's fashion kings of cool, made their Sochi debut with another snazzy pattern on their pants — a mixture of red, white, blue and gray squares and rectangles.
Norway dazzled the U.S. 7-4, but the surprise of opening day was Switzerland's upset of defending champion Canada.
On the women's side, Sweden defeated Britain 6-4 in a matchup of two favorites for the women's curling gold.