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IIHF Women’s Worlds: United States and Canada reach semifinals

Canada bested the United States in the group round of the world championship, and the teams could meet again in the final. (Dennis Pajot/Getty Images)

The International Ice Hockey Federation Women’s Worlds is continuing as normal, with the United States and Canada on a collision course.

Both teams advanced to Saturday’s semifinals, though Canada nearly exited early from the tournament. The defending champions narrowly edged Sweden 3-2 in overtime in the quarterfinals, marking the first time ever that the Canadians had played an overtime period in that round.

“I think it just shows where the game’s at in the world right now. You have teams that continue to push, to chase us and the U.S. down, and that’s something we take a lot of pride in,” Canada’s Erin Ambrose said. “You look at what Sweden did today, they played fantastic. Soderberg was unbelievable. Any game we go into we know we’re going to get everybody’s best, so I think that’s something we’re always reminded of and something that we have to keep in mind.”

Canada next will face Switzerland, which beat Japan 5-1 in its own quarterfinal. That could set up an easy ride to the final, as the Canadians beat the Swiss 4-0 in their first game of the tournament.

The United States, meanwhile, won their quarterfinal match over Germany 3-0, setting up a semifinal showdown with the Czech Republic.

The match against Germany proved big for goaltender Aerin Frankel, who recorded her first shutout for Team USA. She was named player of the game for her efforts, which included 18 saves.

Sweden’s Hilda Svensson currently leads all scorers with 11 points, having scored five goals and added six assists. Teammates Lina Ljungblom and Hanna Olsson follow in second with 10 points.

Caroline Harvey and Taylor Heise lead Team USA with eight points, while Sarah Fillier leads Team Canada with the same.