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.
GERMANY 3 GREAT BRITAIN 1
After an 11th place finish at last year's tournament, Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl and the 8th seed Germans started their 2019 IIHF World Championship quest on the right foot on Saturday with a prelimary round matchup victory against Great Britain.
Given that Great Britain (22nd seed) had earned its first promotion to the top div of IIHF contention since 1994, via their 1st place finish in Group A in the 2018 Divison I tournament, it was was a surprisingly close matchup between the two despite Germany outshooting the Brits 35 to 17.
Things were quiet on the offensive front until Moritz Seider broke through for the Germans in the dying seconds of the middle frame to make it 1-0. Seemingly undaunted, Britain responded in kind early in the third when a turnover behind the German goal gave Britain's Mike Hammond a chance to knot things up 1-1.
Reprieve came for Germany midway through the final frame when Yasin Ehliz struck on the power play to make it 2-1 followed by Oilers forward Draisaitl wiring home an insurance marker just minutes later. Much like he did on many of his 50 goals with the Oilers this season, he joined the rush, slid in relatively unnoticed behind the play where Matthias Plactha found him trailing in the slot. Draisaitl snapped a wrister home with relative ease to make it 3-1.
The Cologne, Germany native chewed up a team-high 22:17 TOI and finished +1 on the day. After finishing last year's tournament with two goals, seven assists for nine points in seven games before being being knocked out in the group stages, Draisaitl will be looking to add to those totals and get Germany over the hump and into medal contention this year.
The next chance he'll have to do so will be tomorrow, Sunday, May 12 against Denmark. (8:15am MT)
FINLAND 4 SLOVAKIA 2
After handling the higher-seeded Americans with somewhat ease in their opening matchup on Friday, host nation Slovakia had more trouble with the Finns on Saturday as they dropped their second matchup 4-2.
After Finnish phenom Kaapo Kakko opened up his IIHF tournament with a two-goal effort against Canada, he was at it again on Saturday with the Slovaks as his next victim. Kakko accounted for three of Finland's four goals and now has a tournament-leading five goals through two games. Though two have been empty-netters, two have been highlight-reel material including the eventual game-winner vs. Slovakia on Saturday with his dangles on full display.
Oilers d-man and Slovak captain Andrej Sekera was an absolute workhorse on the back-end for his country once again, leading the way with 20:27 TOI and contributing on the game's opening goal when his blast from the point resulted in a juicy rebound that was promptly buried by Erik Cernak. The assist is Sekera's second in as many games.
With the loss, the Slovaks sit 1-0-0-1 on the tournament and third behind Germany and Finland in Group A standings, with the Finns remaining the only undefeated team in the group. Sekera and the Slovaks next task will be a meeting against fellow Oilers defender Darnell Nurse and the top-seeded Canadians on Monday, May 13 at 8:15am MT.