MOSCOW (Reuters) - Holders Canada reached a world championship final against Finland by beating the United States 4-3 thanks to Ryan Ellis’ goal early in the third period of a pulsating match on Saturday.
The Finns won 3-1 as they overcame hosts Russia in the other semi-final just as they did at the Sochi Olympics two years ago.
Bill Peters’ Canada side got off to a fine start as they moved into a 2-0 lead at the end of the first period following goals from Brendan Gallagher and Brad Marchand.
But they were stunned when the Americans turned the match around inside seven second-period minutes as Auston Matthews scored on the powerplay before goals from David Warsofsky and Tyler Motte put the U.S. 3-2 in front.
Canada went into the final period level, though, after Derick Brassard scored on the powerplay.
The defending champions took the lead through Ellis’ fierce slapshot early in the third period and never looked back as they moved into the showpiece match.
Finland won the hard way after falling behind to a goal by Russia’s Sergei Shirokov in the second minute.
The Finns, unbeaten in the tournament coming into the game, hit back in the second period as Sebastian Aho, 18, scored twice on the powerplay either side of Jussi Jokinen’s go-ahead goal.
Finland goaltender Mikko Koskinen stood firm in the third period, making 28 saves in the game to take them to the final.
“I just think once the score got to 3-1 we grew in strength,” Finland forward Alexander Barkov told the International Ice Hockey Federation’s (IIHF) website.
“We defended powerfully, and our goalie helped us a lot, of course. We just tried to get the puck up to their zone as much as we could and keep them at arm’s length.”
Canda’s clash with Finland on Sunday will be a repeat of the final game in Group B, which saw the Finns thrash them 4-0.
“Either way the last game of this tournament will be hard for both teams,” said Finland forward Leo Komarov. “For us, we have to get some rest and come back tomorrow with a committed effort.”
Reporting by Dmitriy Rogovitskiy; Editing by Ken Ferris