For full coverage of the Oilers competing in this month's World Championship and their individual and country's performances, visit our international page at EdmontonOilers.com/Worlds.
FINLAND 3 CANADA 1
It was Finnish phenom and projected top-two selection in the upcoming 2019 NHL Draft Kappo Kakko that stole the show in the opening prelimary round matchup between Finland and Canada at the IIHF World Championship in Slovakia on Friday.
The 19-year-old sensation opened the scoring for Finland in the first period on an unbelievable effort where he escaped a diving stick-check from Canadian defender Brandon Montour and beat goaltender Matt Murray with a smooth backhand tuck. His second of the game was an empty-net dagger for the Finns late in the third to secure the 3-1 victory.
Canada's tally came on a gorgeous three-way passing effort on the power play where Jonathan Marchessault snapped home a top-shelf tally that knotted things up 1-1 in the opening frame.
The Oilers lone representation in the prelimary matchup, Darnell Nurse, played 7:56, had 2 PIM and finished even on the day in terms of plus-minus.
Next up for Nurse and the top seed Canadians is a Sunday, May 12 meeting (12:15pm MT) vs. the 22 seed out of Great Britain.
SLOVAKIA 4 USA 1
Host nation Slovakia opened up its IIHF World Championship tournament with a bang as Oilers d-man (and Slovak captain) Andrej Sekera along with his fellow countrymen treated the home fans to a big 4-1 victory over the Americans on Friday.
In what was somewhat of a surprising upset of the 4th seed Americans by the 10th seed Slovaks, it was Sukel Matus who opened the scoring for host Slovakia in the opening frame. Alex Debrincat responded for Team USA shortly after, but it was all the offence the Americans would muster with the Slovaks going on to tally three unanswered goals from Eric Cernak, Tomas Tatar and Kristof Michal en route to the 4-1 final.
Sekera, donned with a 'C', led the way for Slovakia in terms of ice time, logging a team-high 20:01 and chipping in with the lone assist on Cernak's second period goal. The Oilers d-man put a pass on a tee Cernak who blasted one home a 5-on-3 to make it 2-1 and would be the eventual game-winner.
Next up for Slovakia in Group A action is a matchup vs. Finland on Saturday, May 11 at 12:15pm MT.
CZECH REPUBLIC 5 SWEDEN 2
The reigning IIHF World Champs out of Sweden opened their tournament against the Czech Republic and had their hands full as the 6th seed Czechs were able to knock off the Swedes in a high-scoring affair that ended 5-2 in favour of the underdogs.
Jakob Vrana led the way for the Czech Republic notching two tallies with Jan Kobar, Dominik Kubalik and Michael Frolik each adding one en route to the 5-2 final.
Patric Hornqvist and Oskar Lindblom accounted for Sweden's offence in the loss.
And it was another Oilers workhorse logging big minutes on the back-end for his country as Adam Larsson put up 20:56 TOI, trailing only his D partner Oliver Ekman-Larsson who contributed 23:03 TOI as part of Sweden's shutdown pairing on the blueline.