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Canada beats Sweden 3-2 in semifinal at U18 world hockey championship

NHL.com @NHL

KAZAN, Russia - Taylor Hall and Canada's under-18 hockey team will get a second shot at Russia.

Hall, of the OHL's Windsor Spitfires, scored twice, including the winner in the third period, as Canada advanced to the gold medal game with a 3-2 semifinal win over previously unbeaten Sweden on Monday. The Russians also qualified for the final by downing the United States 3-1.

Canada and Russia will meet Wednesday (11 a.m. ET) while the Americans and Swedes will play for the bronze medal.

Matthew Duchene of the OHL's Brampton Battalion had the other goal for Canada.

The championship contest will mark the first-ever meeting between Canada and Russia in any medal game at the world under-18 tournament. The Russians will attempt to capture a record fourth gold medal while Canada chases its second.

The Canadians, who won this event in 2003, were fourth last year.

Canada will be looking for a bit of redemption when the two teams meet Wednesday. The Canadians' lone loss of the tournament was a 4-2 decision to Russia on Wednesday that secured the host team top spot in Pool A and a berth into the semifinals.

As a result of the loss, Canada had to play in the quarter-finals, earning a 2-1 win over Finland on Sunday.

"We're really excited for the gold medal game," Hall said. "It's what everyone came here for and what the staff all worked towards.

"All we have to do is execute . . . hopefully we can focus our energy and have a good game."

And for the second straight game, the Canadians will face an unbeaten team. Russia enters the final sporting a perfect 5-0 record.

"Obviously we have to play our best game if we expect to win," said Canadian head coach Pat Quinn. "Right now our guys are enjoying the win . . . they feel good about themselves and they should.

"They've done a nice job so far. But as I said we've got another step to go and we can play better even yet. The team I'm most interested in is our own and that's where our preparation is going to be focused."

Mattias Tedenby opened the scoring for Sweden at 5:51 of the first period but Duchene tied it 37 seconds later.

Jakob Silfverberg put Sweden back in front at 1:08 of the second. Hall notched the equalizer at 8:46 before scoring the winner on the power play in the third.

"It (winning goal) was a real nice goal," Hall said. "We worked hard on the power play correcting all the mistakes and finally capitalized on a nice play by a couple of my linemates."

Hall said while the Swedish side was very skilled, Canada was able to counter that with a solid team game.

"They're a very good team and have a lot of skill," he said. "We had a really good third period where we were doing everything for the team.

"We blocked some shots and made some really good team plays."

In Monday's relegation games, Slovakia edged Switzerland 3-2 and Belarus beat Denmark 6-2.

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