KAZAN, Russia - Canada will have its work cut out for it in the gold medal game at the IIHF world under-18 hockey championship.
Canada defeated Sweden 3-2 in Monday's semifinal to earn a date with host Russia in Wednesday's championship (11 a.m. ET). The unbeaten Russians are brimming with confidence and will have the home crowd at the Tatneft Arena on their side.
They are also the defending champions and know what it takes to beat the Canadians, handing them their only loss of the tournament, a 4-2 decision in the preliminary round last week.
The Canadians, who won this event in 2003, were fourth last year.
"They've done a nice job so far," head coach Pat Quinn said after the semifinal victory. "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."
The championship contest will mark the first-ever meeting between Canada and Russia in any medal game at the world under-18 tournament.
Taylor Hall of Kingston, Ont., scored two power-play goals for Canada in its semifinal victory. He said after the game that his teammates will be ready to step up in the final.
"All we have to do is execute," Hall said. "Hopefully we can focus our energy and have a good game."
The Russians, coming off a 3-1 win over the United States, will attempt to capture a record fourth gold medal. The Americans will play Sweden for the bronze medal on Wednesday.
Germany defeated Finland 4-3 in Tuesday's fifth-place game.
Germany squandered a two-goal lead in the third period, only to come back and net the game-winner in the final minute.
Florian Strobl scored the winner while shorthanded with just 37 seconds left to play.