The US have won the IIHF Women's World Championship in the last five editions, but 10-times record winners Canada beat them 5-1 in the final preliminary round match ©Getty Images

Hosts Canada earned top spot in group A at the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Women’s World Championship in Calgary, impressively dispatching defending champions the United States 5-1 on the final day of preliminary round matches.

The two North American countries have dominated the Women’s Worlds, with Finland’s 2019 silver medal the only final which has not been contested between the pair.

Canada have won the championships a record 10 times.

The US have won the last five editions, including winning their last 29 matches.

However, the hosts put down something of a marker with this victory, which came without the services of captain Marie-Philip Poulin.

Melodie Daoust opened the scoring in the first period - the first goal conceded by the US at this year’s tournament - which was added to by Renata Fast.

Jamie Lee Rattray notched two further goals for Canada in the second period, while Sarah Nurse grabbed one to make it 5-0.

Lee Stecklein pulled one back for the US, but their coach Joel Johnson insisted they are "better than we showed tonight."

Canada’s coach Troy Ryan paid tribute to the collective endeavours of his side.

"We're pleased with the outcome and feel we've been rewarded for a lot of the work we've done here in the last number of months," Ryan said.

"I think this group is well on the way to really uniting and being a good group.

"We were able to put four lines over the boards and seven d. over the boards, and everybody was contributing to our team's success.

Petra Nieminen of Finland grabbed the IIHF Women's World Championship's first natural hat-trick since 2013 ©Getty Images
Petra Nieminen of Finland grabbed the IIHF Women's World Championship's first natural hat-trick since 2013 ©Getty Images

"Right now, that's the best thing that's happening.

"There's no one looking for the individual.

"They're looking for team."

Finland made sure of third place in the group, thrashing bottom side Switzerland 6-0 at the WinSport Arena.

Susanna Tapani began the rout during an early power play in the first period, before Petra Nieminen completed the Women’s Worlds’ first natural hat-trick since 2013 in less than six minutes to put the Finns four to the good.

Tapani added her second of the match in the second period and later hit the cross-bar to deny her a hat-trick, before Viivi Vainikka scored Finland’s sixth early in the third.

They will face group B winners the Czech Republic in the quarter-finals, a repeat of the tie at the same stage in 2019 which Finland won 3-1.

Coach Pasi Mustonen said of the Czechs: "They are top-four now in the world.

"I've never seen a better Czech team than the team that's here right now."

In group B, Japan came from behind to defeat Germany 2-1, ensuring they finish the preliminary round in second place and set up a quarter-final with the US, while the Germans face Canada.

Kerstin Spielberger put Germany in front in the first period, but Hanae Kubo and Hikaru Yamashita hit back for Japan in the second to ensure the country enjoyed its best-ever preliminary round performance at the Women’s Worlds.

The quarter-finals begin on Saturday (August 28) after a rest day.

The bottom two in group A - the Russian Olympic Committee and Switzerland - meet in the first tie, followed by the US against Japan, Canada against Germany and finally Finland versus the Czech Republic.

Losing quarter-finalists will play on Sunday (August 29) to determine the fifth to eighth place rankings, with already eliminated Hungary and Denmark agreeing to play an exhibition match as well, while the semi-finals are scheduled for Monday (August 30).