Finland’s women made history on the home ice of Espoo tonight as they earned their first win over Canada at an International Ice Hockey Federation World Championships.
They will now meet defending and Olympic champions the United States in their first global gold medal play-off.
While Finland have collected 12 bronzes at the World Championships since the event started in 1990, the final has only ever been contested by the US and Canada.
That changed tonight as the bulk of 4,311 spectators packed into Espoo Metro Areena urged the home team on to a 4-2 win with ever-increasing chants of “Suomi!”
History was also made for Canada, who have not won this title since 2012, when they meet the team beaten 8-0 in the other of today’s semi-finals, Russia, to dispute bronze.
It will be their first involvement in anything other than the gold medal play-off in these, the 19th Championships.
"This was one of our dreams, but the big dream's tomorrow," said goalie Noora Raty, an Espoo native, who starred with 43 saves.
"I think it means everything," said Michelle Karvinen.
"This is what needed to happen.
“We have wanted to prove this for a long time, because we knew we could do it.
"I think it will open up a lot of the mindset of women's hockey, that there are more than two teams.
“And everybody can do it if they're just willing to work for it."
Jamie Lee Rattray put Canada ahead after 2min 32sec of the first period, but Ronja Savolainen scored the first of her two goals to send the home team into the first break level.
Finland’s 32-year-old captain Jenni Hiirikoski put her side ahead during the second period, striking after 26min 50sec, but the Pyeonghang 2018 silver medallists levelled just over a minute later through Loren Gabel.
There was no holding the home team, however, and a goal after 36min 18sec by Susanna Tapani sent them into the second break 3-2 ahead.
After a tense third period there was pandemonium as a second goal from Savolainen just 38sec from time confirmed a stupendous breakthrough for the hosts.
"Finland's a great team and they are going to come to play in their home rink in a semi-final game," said Canada's Jill Saulnier.
"And they did just that, I give credit to them.”
Finland had never beaten Canada in six attempts at the Olympics and had only won once in 23 women’s worlds encounters, 4-3 in group play in Plymouth, Michigan in 2017.
In the round robin here in Espoo, Canada thumped the hosts 6-1.
There was never any question of an upset in the other semi-final, however, as the United States moved to within one more victory of a fifth consecutive world title.
Before the game, Finnish legend Marianne Ihailainen had her jersey retired in an on-ice ceremony.
The 52-year-old Tampere native, an eight-time Finnish league champion, captained Finland from 1992 to 2000, winning five women’s worlds bronze medals and the inaugural 1998 Olympic bronze medal.