Amanda Kessel is back.
After a year of injury rehabilitation, the 22-year-old Minnesota Golden Gophers forward is back on the ice and poised to make a difference for the U.S. women’s hockey team at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
According to Helene Elliot of the Los Angeles Times, Kessel played in her first full-speed game on Tuesday since spring 2013, when a lingering hip injury sidelined her for more rehab.
The game was a friendly scrimmage against Germany, and while no official score was kept, the U.S. managed to put 10 pucks in the net against their opponent.
It was a welcome exercise for the women’s team, but the game meant the most to Kessel, who had gone so long without playing in real competition.
“It feels great to get a game under our belts,” Kessel told Elliot. “Obviously, its been a little tough with the travel and whatnot. Considering that we just got here two days ago, our team came out and played pretty well.”
U.S. coach Katey Stone elaborated on the scrimmage, saying that Kessel looked strong throughout the course of her team’s dominant showing.
“She looks pretty good,” Stone said. “She’s right where she needs to be.”
Kessel feels confident that she’s ready to play, according to Kelly Whiteside of USA Today.
“I’m 100 percent,” Kessel said.
This is good news. One can only hope her older brother, Phil Kessel, is as prepared to take on the spotlight for the U.S. men’s team in Sochi.
The Toronto Maple Leafs winger is currently leading all Americans in the NHL in goals scored for the 2013-14 season, per Michael Traikos of the National Post.
Look for Phil’s little sister to continue the Kessel way of scoring by the bushel at the Winter Olympics. She’s already off to a great start.
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