Jonathan Bernier’s last game before Saturday was an April 4 relief appearance in the Kings’ 6-1 loss to the Sharks in San Jose.
His thoughts, as told to IIHF.com, following Team Canada’s 3-2 win over Norway were understandable: “I was excited,” said Bernier, “because I haven’t played for about a month, so for me the big thing was to get that first shot on goal and get used to the bigger ice surface.”
Bernier finished with 25 saves, allowing both Norway goals in the final 10 minutes after Jason Spezza, John Tavares and James Neal spotted Canada a 3-0 lead.
James Reimer, who had started every game for Canada at the tournament prior to Saturday, served as the backup to Bernier rather than play on back-to-back days.
With the win, Canada clinched one of eight spots in the quarterfinal round.
Jack Johnson and Team USA breathed more life into their quarterfinal aspirations Saturday, while Michal Handzus and Team Slovakia met a disappointing fate.
Johnson played a team-high 24:52 in a 3-2 win for the U.S. against France. Cristobal Huet (35 saves) made things tough, but the U.S. climbed out of an early 1-0 deficit on unanswered goals by Derek Stepan, Mark Stuart and Chris Kreider. The U.S. can clinch its first quarterfinal-round berth for the first time since 2009 on Monday if it beats Switzerland or loses in overtime or a shootout, or if the Swiss lose to the Swedes on Sunday.
There will be no quarterfinal round for Slovakia.
Tuomo Ruutu scored twice in the third period to lift Finland to a 2-1 win over the hosts.
Handzus got the primary assist on Marian Gaborik’s first period power-play goal, but finished with a minus-1 rating in 14:33.
According to IIHF.com, no host country has won the gold medal at the IIHF World Championship since the Soviet Union in 1986.