Six KHL teams featured in four friendly games on Thursday, in locations as diverse as Russia, Finland and Slovakia, and all four games turned out to be closely fought affairs. 

Vityaz welcomed Novokuznetsk Metallurg to a friendly in Podolsk, Moscow Region, and edged a close contest to record a 3-2 win. Roman Horak, Teemu Eronen and Igor Musatov scored for the home team with US forward Ryan Stoa and Alexander Komaristy replying for the visitors. 

Fans in Helsinki certainly received value for money as Jokerit and SKA served up an eight-goal thriller, although the result – a 5-3 triumph for the guests – may have slightly dented the Finns’ patriotic pride. Anton Burdasov and Joakim Lindstrom, with a double each, and Finnish forward Jarno Koskiranta were on target for the Gagarin Cup holders, while for the hosts Pekka Jormakka, Philip Larsen and Jere Sallinen punished the Petersburg defense. 

Sibir have also set up camp in Finland, and Andrei Skabelka’s men were given a very stern test in Turku against the local team, TuTo. Maxim Shalunov hit a double and Sergei Shumakov added another in regulation time but the Finns matched them goal for goal, and it needed a cool finish from Vladimir Rot in the shootout to give the Novosibirsk men a 4-3 victory. 

Slovan’s game in Bratislava against Zlin of the Czech Republic also needed a shootout to determine the winner. Twice Vaclav Nedorost gave the Slovaks the lead but both times the Czechs bounced back to level the score. Slovan’s Marek Viedensky came to the rescue in the post-match duels against the goalies, and his successful shot sealed a 3-2 win for Milos Riha’s men.

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