World hockey championship: Canada takes down U.S., will play Finland in final
Ryan Ellis scored game-winning goal early in 3rd
Ryan Ellis scored the go-ahead goal early in the third period and it held up as the difference as Canada defeated the United States 4-3 in semifinal play Saturday at the world hockey championship.
Ellis fired a slapshot from the top of the right faceoff circle over the shoulder of American goaltender Keith Kinkaid at the 1:34 mark of the third to help send the defending champions to Sunday's gold-medal game.
"His hockey sense is at an elite level and that was a bomb," Canadian coach Bill Peters said of Ellis' winning goal. "That's a world-class shot."
After Canada regained the lead, goaltender Cam Talbot withstood the American pressure the rest of the way. Talbot made 30 saves in total, including all 11 shots he faced in the final period.
Talbot praised his teammates for their defensive work with the extra attacker on the ice for the U.S. and the clock ticking down.
"There's always going to be pressure when there's a faceoff in your end 42 seconds left," Talbot said. "I knew that we were going to do everything that we could to lay down and not let anything get to the net and that's exactly what we did. We did a great job of keeping them to the outside and blocking shots when they took them."
Finland beats Russia
Canada will play unbeaten Finland for the title. The Finns beat host Russia 3-1 in the early semifinal.
Brendan Gallagher opened the scoring at 8:59 of the first period for the Canadians and Brad Marchand made it a two-goal game at 18:02. But the momentum changed in the second period as Auston Matthews, David Warsofsky and Tyler Motte scored within a span of 7:11 for the Americans.
With Derick Brassard serving a delay-of-game penalty, Matthews beat Talbot high to the glove side for his team-leading sixth goal of the tournament. Less than three minutes later, Warsofsky pulled the U.S. even before Motte converted a one-timer at 8:25.
Brassard brought Canada even once again on the power play at 15:30, shooting the puck into a gaping net after Kinkaid was forced out of position during a goalmouth scramble.
"I just tried to get a shot towards the net," said Canadian forward Matt Duchene, who started the scoring sequence. "Perrs [Corey Perry] was doing a good job in front screening. I saw a corner and it kind of took a funny bounce off a stick and hit [Kinkaid] in the shoulder.
"They don't always have to be pretty, especially on the power play."
U.S. defenceman Connor Murphy was assessed a minor penalty and 10-minute misconduct late in the second period after checking Canadian forward Mark Stone into the boards in front of the American bench.
Stone, who had been tied for the team scoring lead entering the game, went to the locker-room favouring his left arm. He returned to action for Canada at the beginning of the third period.
Finland shut out Canada 4-0 in its preliminary-round matchup last Tuesday. It was the only blemish on Canada's record in the tournament, which Duchene said provides some extra motivation for Sunday.
"We wanted them [in the final]. We have some unfinished business with them so it's going be a tough game. If we beat them it's going to be very sweet."
"It's a bit of a redemption game for us and myself," added Talbot, whose only sub-par performance of the tournament came against the Finns. "I didn't have my best game against them, so I'll be looking to play a better game tomorrow and to give us a chance to win."
The bronze-medal game between the U.S. and Russia will also be played Sunday.
With files from The Associated Press