By Liam Morgan

The United States retained their crown with a thrilling 7-5 victory over Canada ©HHOF-IIHF ImagesThe United States successfully defended their International Ice Hockey Federation Women's World Championship crown with a 7-5 victory over arch-rivals Canada in a thrilling final at the Malmö Isstadion.

The Americans, keen to avenge their agonising overtime defeat to the Canadians in the gold medal at last year's Winter Olympics in Sochi, seemed to have the contest won as they established a 5-2 lead in the second period.

But, in testament to their character, Canada fought back to level proceedings at 5-5 before Brianna Decker and Kendall Coyne broke their hearts with two third period goals to ensure the US were victorious in Sweden.

The result saw the most goals ever scored in the Women's World Championship final, beating the previous tally of nine set in 2012 between the two nations.

The 16th consecutive final contested by the United States and Canada started brightly and the Americans seized the initiative in the first period when Anne Pankowski gave her side an early lead.

Monique Lamoureux then teed up Hilary Knight for America's second as they continued the form they exhibited in the 13-1 semi-final thrashing of Russia yesterday. 

Shortly after, the United States raced into a 3-0 advantage thanks to Megan Keller, who followed up a Meghan Duggan effort to put her side within touching distance of gold.

Canada did manage to launch a spirited fightback to level the match at 5-5 but it proved to be in vein as the Americans proved too strong ©Andre Ringuette/HHOF-IIHF ImagesCanada did manage to launch a spirited fightback to level the match at 5-5 but it proved to be in vein as the Americans proved too strong ©HHOF-IIHF Images

The Canadians, however, were not going down without a fight and Rebecca Johnston reduced the arrears with a superb finish.

The United States briefly quelled any hopes of a comeback when Anne Schleper added a fourth to cap off a miserable opening period for Canadian stopper Ann-Renee Desbiens, who was subsequently taken off.

Marie-Philip Poulin brought it back to 4-2 early in the second period, but the topsy-turvy nature of the match continued as Haley Skarupa reinstated America's three-goal advantage.

This is where Canada really came into their own though and goals from Brigette Lacquette, Johnston and Caroline Ouellette levelled the match in dramatic fashion at 5-5, but Decker and Coyne managed to breach the Canadian defence in the third period to clinch America's fifth world title.

Finland sealed the bronze medal with a comfortable 4-1 victory over Russia ©Getty ImagesFinland sealed the bronze medal with a comfortable 4-1 victory over Russia ©Getty Images

In the bronze medal match, Finland ended a four-year podium drought at the event by securing a comfortable 4-1 success over Russia.

The Russians, perhaps shell-shocked from their heavy defeat against the US yesterday, fell behind in the first period as Rosa Lindstedt's shot found the net via a deflection off Alexandra Kapustina.

Finland doubled their lead towards the end of the period when joint 2014 Olympic scoring leader Michelle Karvinen rounded off a sweeping move with a tap-in.

In a fragmented second period which was littered with constant penalties, Finland managed to all but seal the bronze medal as Linda Valimaki converted Karoliina Rantamaki's well-placed pass to make it 3-0.

Tatyana Burina got Russia on the scoreboard to reduce the deficit to two, but they never looked like coming back and Rantamaki added a fourth late on to give the scoreline the resounding feel that Finland's performance merited.

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