Canada blanks Czech Republic, into World Hockey Championship final

Jason Spezza
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Canada reached the World Hockey Championship gold-medal game for the first time since 2009 by beating host Czech Republic 2-0 in a semifinal in Prague on Saturday.

Edmonton Oilers forward Taylor Hall scored in the first period, and Dallas Stars forward Jason Spezza tallied in the second among 41 total Canadian shots. Arizona Coyotes goalie Mike Smith stopped all 23 Czech shots.

Canada, the two-time reigning Olympic champion, will play the winner of the later U.S.-Russia semifinal (NBC Sports Live Extra, 1 p.m. ET) in the gold-medal game on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra.

Undefeated Canada has outscored its nine opponents at the World Championship by a combined 46-goal margin.

Canada last played the U.S. in a global championship final at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, won by Canada on Sidney Crosby‘s overtime goal. Crosby is Canada’s captain at the World Championship.

Canada last played Russia in a global championship final at the 2008 and 2009 Worlds, both won by Russia. Canada last won a World Championship in 2007.

The Czechs, led by 43-year-old Jaromir Jagr, will play in the bronze-medal game Sunday at 10 a.m. ET on NBC Sports Live Extra.

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