Andrew Mangiapane, Nick Paul and Troy Stecher of Canada celebrate a victory goal during the Ice Hockey World Championship quarterfinal match between Russia and Canada at the Olympic Sports Center in Riga, Latvia, Thursday, June 3, 2021. (AP Photo/Roman Koksarov)

Canada advances to final after beating Americans at world hockey championship

RIGA, Latvia — Canada is heading to the final of the world hockey championship for the fifth time in the past six tournaments.

The Canadians beat the U.S. 4-2 today in the first semifinal.

Canada will play the winner of the Finland-Germany semifinal in Sunday’s final match.

Justin Danforth’s empty-netter with 23 seconds left sealed it for Canada.

Andrew Mangiapane, with two, and Brandon Pirri also scored for Canada, while goalie Darcy Kuemper made 36 saves. Colin Blackwell and Sasha Chmelevski scored for the U.S., while goalie Cal Petersen blocked 29 shots.

Mangiapane, a Calgary Flames forward, has seven goals in six games.

After starting the tournament with three losses, Canada won three games in a row before losing in a shootout to Finland to eke out a spot in the playoffs.

Canada barely avoided missing the playoffs for the first time at an Olympics or world championship.

In the quarterfinals, Canada beat Russia 2-1 in overtime.

Canada lost to Finland in the 2019 final. The 2020 tournament was cancelled because of COVID-19.

Canada’s last gold medals came back to back in 2015 and ‘16.

The Americans, meanwhile, will fall short of capturing their first title since 1960.