Moscow — Canada blew a lead before making a comeback in fighting past the United States 4-3 on Saturday to set up an ice hockey world championship final with Finland.
Finland rubbed out Russia 3-1 in the other semifinal for a shot at its first championship in five years.
Brendan Gallagher got Canada started with a rebound off Boone Jenner’s shot, and Brad Marchand made it 2-0 with a wrist shot from a tight angle following an elegant combination with Cody Ceci.
The U.S. surged in the second period to go ahead with three goals in eight minutes, starting from Auston Matthews with a deflected slapshot.
David Warsofsky tied up the game in unusual circumstances when he hit the puck into the top-left corner, but it bounced out again and play continued, only for the goal to be given on review. Tyler Motte’s first goal of the tournament put the U.S. in front 3-2 off a pass from Dylan Larkin, but Derick Brassard hit back for Canada to level ahead of the third.
Ryan Ellis scored the semifinal-winning goal early in the third with a slapshot to the top-right corner.
“They gave us everything we could handle. We knew it was going to be a battle,” Canada goaltender Cam Talbot said. “There’s no quit in our game.”
In Sunday’s final, Canada can become the first team to retain the title since Russia in 2009.
Finland beat Canada 4-0 in the preliminary round, although that game took place after both teams had already qualified for the quarterfinals.
Talbot said the final would be a “redemption game” for him after he allowed four goals off 19 shots in the last game against the Finns.
“We turned the puck over a lot,” captain Corey Perry said when asked what Canada needed to improve for its second encounter with the Finns. “They sit back, they like to play that trap game, live off turnovers. We clean that area up, we’ll do OK.”
The U.S. arrived in Russia two weeks ago with a heavy emphasis on youth, featuring six college players, and lost its opening game 5-1 to Canada, but improved throughout the tournament and surprised many by beating the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals.
“I thought we were really good tonight,” forward Nick Foligno said. “We’re a young team and they’re a veteran team, an older team, and we played toe to toe with them.”
The U.S. will play for a second bronze medal in a row against Russia.
Eighteen-year-old forward Sebastian Aho helped Finland to win with two goals he attributed to “great passes to me,” adding he was looking forward to the gold medal game. “I like to win and I hate to lose.”
Their win ensured Russia has not made the final at a home world championship since the breakup of the Soviet Union.
Sergei Shirokov gave Russia the lead in the first period, scoring on his own rebound following a pass from Dmitry Telegin.
Having been outshot 10-4 in the first, Finland fought back with three second-period goals. Aho, an NHL prospect, tied up the game with a power-play slapshot before Jussi Jokinen scored a wrist shot off a pass across the crease from NHL No. 1 draft pick contender Patrik Laine.
With Russia’s Alex Ovechkin off the ice for interference, Aho scored his second power-play goal off assists from Jarno Koskiranta and Mikko Koivu. Finland then shut down the game in the third to secure the win.
There was more bad news for Russia late in the third when Telegin suffered what was reported to be severe bruising to the leg after apparently being struck by Atte Ohtamaa’s stick. Telegin crawled across the ice as play continued before he received medical help.