HELSINKI -- The United States reached the final of hockey's world junior championships, beating Finland, 2-1, yesterday behind goals from Stephen Werner and Daniel Fritsche.
The Americans will play for the gold medal tomorrow against Canada, which downed the Czech Republic, 7-1, in the other semifinal.
The United States and Canada have perfect records in the tournament, which is for players under 20 years old.
Canada has played the United States in an under-20 worlds final once, in 1997 in Switzerland. Canada won, 2-0. Last year, Canada beat the United States in the semifinals.
"I've looked forward to the game against Canada ever since we lost last year," said US forward Zach Parise. "We'll be ready."
For the third time in as many games, the United States scored an important goal while shorthanded.
With eight minutes elapsed in the first period and Corey Potter in the penalty box for roughing, Werner, who plays collegiately for the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, broke up a play at the Finland point and started a two-on-one rush with Parise.
Werner dropped a backhand pass to Parise, then cut to the slot. Parise, the tournament's leading scorer, returned the puck and Werner gave the US a 1-0 lead.
In the third period, Fritsche gave the Americans a 2-0 lead on a breakaway.
Teemu Nurmi scored on a power play for Finland in the last minute.
"It was our toughest game in the tournament," Parise said.
Canada got two goals from Jeff Carter to easily defeat the Czech Republic.
Canada played a man short for five minutes spanning the second and third periods after Dion Phaneuf elbowed Rostislav Olesz. Olesz was taken to a hospital after being taken off the ice on a stretcher.
In Hameenlinna, Finland, Austria and Ukraine tied, 2-2. Both were relegated to the second tier after one year in the top group. Sweden beat Switzerland, 4-3, to finish seventh.
Material from USAhockey.com was used in this report.