Canada needed overtime to beat Sweden in the quarter-finals ©Getty Images

Sarah Nurse struck in overtime as title holders and hosts Canada beat Sweden 3-2 in a dramatic quarter-final at the International Ice Hockey Federation Women’s World Championships in Brampton.

Sweden pushed Canada all the way and threatened to stun the defending champions before Nurse came to the rescue at the CAA Centre.

Blayre Turnbull put Canada in front with a goal inside the opening eight minutes before Nurse doubled the home side's advantage.

Lina Ljungblom gave Sweden a lifeline when she netted just before the end of the second period.

Sweden continued to plug away and their persistence paid off with Hilda Svensson scoring the equaliser with 10 seconds left on the clock.

Canada had let slip a 2-0 lead but hit back in overtime as Nurse popped up to score the winner.

"Nurse just continues to show that she's one of the best players in the world," said Canada's Erin Ambrose.

"Her release is something that kind of catches you off guard because of how it comes off her stick, but it's one of the quickest there is.

"She continues to take her game to another level and today was just showing that and proving that."

Canada, the 12-time winners of the event, will now face Switzerland who booked their place in the semi-finals with an emphatic 5-1 victory over Japan.

The Swiss team went a goal down when Haruka Toko scored for Japan after just eight minutes.

Japan's lead did not last long, though, as Lara Christen found the net 10 minutes later.

Switzerland kicked on with a devastating six-minute period that saw Alina Muller, Lara Stalder and Rahel Enzler get on the scoresheet.

The three-goal burst at the start of the second period left Japan rocking before Switzerland delivered a fifth and final blow with another goal for Enzler.

There was also a comfortable quarter-final win for nine-time champions and last year’s runners-up the United States who thumped Germany 3-0.

The American team dominated from start to finish with goals from Amanda Kessel, Hannah Bilka and Abbey Murphy.

The Czech Republic will be the US' semi-final opponents after they came from behind to beat Finland 2-1.

Viiva Vainikka opened the scoring for Finland before the Czech Republic turned the match on its head with a quickfire double in the first seven minutes of the second period.

Natalie Mlynkova and Katerina Mrazova netted in the space of 50 seconds as the Czech team went on to seal their spot in the last four.

Competition is due to continue tomorrow with semi-final action.