The United States booked their place in the final with a 9-0 rout of Russia in the last four ©IIHF

Defending champions the United States will meet hosts Canada in the final of the World Women’s Ice Hockey Championship for the 17th successive tournament after both countries recorded semi-final victories at the Sandman Centre in Kamloops.

The American side, who have been in ruthless form throughout the competition, reached the gold medal contest in style, thrashing Russia 9-0.

Canada were made to work march harder for their spot in the final as they edged Finland, bronze medallists at the 2015 event in Malmö, thanks largely to Natalie Spooner’s hat-trick in a 5-3 success.

The two ice hockey powerhouses will clash for the 2016 title tomorrow, where the United States will be bidding for a third straight crown and a sixth from the past seven editions of the World Women’s Ice Hockey Championship.

Hilary Knight, Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson and Kelli Stack each netted two goals during the United States’ rout of the Russians, with Megan Bozek, Brianna Decker and Monique Lamoureux also getting their names on the scoresheet in what was a comprehensive win for the 2015 champions.

“I think this is maybe the best game of the tournament we’ve played,” American coach Ken Klee said.

"Our pairings on defence were working well together.

“Our forwards were all reading off each other.

“We had a lot of one-touch passes today to open players, and we gave ourselves a lot of great looks.”

Natalie Spooner netted a hat-trick as Canada reached the final with a 5-3 win over Finland
Natalie Spooner netted a hat-trick as Canada reached the final with a 5-3 win over Finland ©IIHF

In front of a packed home crowd, Olympic champions Canada took to the ice against Finland in a repeat of last year’s semi-final and it was the visitors who broke the deadlock as Saana Valkama fired a powerful shot high into the net.

Spooner restored parity with her first of the game and Meghan Agosta then turned the contest on its head, edging Canada 2-1 in front in the second period.

Shortly after, the Sochi 2014 gold medallists opened up a two-goal advantage through Spooner’s tidy backhand finish, before Michelle Karvinen’s goal moved Finland back to within one.

The Finnish joy was short-lived, however, as Blayre Turnbull made it 4-2 and Spooner then completed her hat-trick to put the result beyond doubt.

Saila Saari scored late on but it was a mere consolation for her nation, who will hope to end the tournament on a high by beating Russia in the bronze medal match tomorrow.

Switzerland kept hold of their place in the top tier of the World Women’s Ice Hockey Championship as they wrapped up a 2-0 series win in the relegation play-off with Japan with a 4-0 victory at the McArthur Centre to condemn their opponents to Division I.

Sweden secured fifth place as they edged the Czech Republic 4-2.