Loren Gabel leads Canadian attack with 3 points in win over Finland

Loren Gabel had two goals and an assist to pace Canada to a 6-1 win over host Finland at the women’s world hockey championship Tuesday in Espoo.

Canada (3-1) finished second in Group A behind the unbeaten United States and will play Germany in a quarter-final Thursday.

Rebecca Johnston, Brianne Jenner, Sarah Nurse and Erin Ambrose also scored for Canada. Ann-Sophie Bettez assisted on a pair of goals.

Shannon Szabados made 22 saves for her second win of the tournament.

Ella Viitasuo countered for Finland early in the third after Canada scored four times.

Finland goalie Noora Raty allowed three goals on 26 shots before she was replaced late in the second period by Eveliina Suonpaa, who had 23 saves.

Americans win Group A

Jenner wore the captain’s ‘C’ in the absence of Marie-Philip Poulin, who did not play after reinjuring a problem knee the previous evening in a 5-1 win over Russia.

WATCH | Marie-Philip Poulin injures her left knee on Monday:

Canadian captain Marie-Philip Poulin reinjures her left knee late in the first period. 0:24

Defending champion United States (4-0) topped Group A ahead of Canada, Finland (2-2), Russia (1-3) and Switzerland (0-4).

All Group A countries and the top three in Group B advanced to the quarter-finals. The bottom Group B countries — Sweden and France — were relegated.

The Czech Republic (4-0), Germany (1-1-1-1) and Japan (2-2) placed first to third respectively in Group B.

So Thursday’s other quarter-final matchups will be: United States and Japan; Finland and the Czech Republic; Russia and Switzerland.

The winner of U.S.-Japan meets the winner of Russia-Switzerland in one semifinal, while the Canada-Germany victor takes on the Finland-Czech winner in Saturday’s other semifinal.

Strong start

The medal games are Sunday.

The Finns had momentum behind them after back-to-back wins over Switzerland and Russia.

But Canada, which lost 4-3 loss to the Finns in the preliminary round two years ago, quickly quieted the Metro Areena with a pair of first-period goals.

Ambrose and Nurse scored in a span of less than two minutes midway through the third to seal Canada’s victory.

Ambrose tipped a Jamie Lee Rattray pass by Suonpaa’s glove and Nurse beat the Finn far side with a wrist shot.

Viitasuo threaded a wrist shot through traffic, beating Szabados over the Canadian’s right shoulder at 2:42 of the third period.

Top shelf

Jenner scored Canada’s fourth goal at 18:23 of the second period. A give-and-go with Gabel in the neutral zone opened up the centre lane for Jenner.

She finished the play going forehand-to-backhand on Suonpaa.

Gabel collected her second of the night going top shelf on Raty with a wrist shot over the goalie’s far shoulder at 15:35 of the second.

Johnston scored her second of the tournament 14 minutes into the first period. Jill Saulnier dished from behind the net to Ambrose, whose shot careered off Raty’s shoulder for Johnston to bang in.

Gabel got her stick on a Bettez wrist shot to redirect the puck upstairs on Raty at 10:44 of the first, opening the scoring

Sweden, meanwhile, will not play in the top-tier world championship in Halifax next year for the first time in tournament history. The Swedes were relegated with a 3-2 loss to Japan.