Canada to play for gold after 4-2 semifinal win over Russia at hockey worlds

Canada's Mark Scheifele celebrates with teammates after scoring against Russia at the Ice Hockey World Championships semifinal match between Canada and Russia in the LANXESS arena in Cologne, Germany, Saturday, May 20, 2017.
Image Credit: (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

COLOGNE, Germany - Canada scored four unanswered goals in the third period for a 4-2 semifinal victory over Russia at the world hockey championship on Saturday.

Yevgeni Kuznetsov and Nikita Gusev scored in the second period for Russia but Mark Scheifele halved the deficit when he beat netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy just 17 seconds into the final stanza.

Nate MacKinnon tied the game with 4:53 left to play and Ryan O'Reilly put Canada ahead with 3:02 remaining. Sean Couturier iced the victory with an empty-net goal with 67 seconds left.

Finland and Sweden were scheduled to play later Saturday in the other semifinal. The winner will play Canada for gold on Sunday and the loser will play Russia for bronze.

Canada, the two-time defending champions, hasn't won three straight gold medals at this event since the early 1950s. The Czech Republic was the last team to three-peat (1999-2001).

For the first time in the tournament, Canada failed to score first as Kuznetsov beat Calvin Pickard after a pretty passing play at 12:16 of the second period.

Gusev made it 2-0 at 14:50 after another tic-tac-toe effort in the Canada zone. He actually fanned on the shot but it still fluttered past Pickard.

Scheifele's goal came on the power play. MacKinnon fed the puck through to his wide-open teammate in the slot and Scheifele one-timed it over Vasilevskiy's glove hand.

Canada couldn't capitalize on two subsequent power-plays, but MacKinnon tied the game at even strength when he swept the puck in by the goalfront.

O'Reilly banged in a loose puck to give Canada its first lead of the game. He also delivered a long pass to Couturier for the empty-netter.

Canada outshot Russia 19-4 in the third period and had a 38-27 edge overall.

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