Finland and Italy Latvia were the host nations on Monday for two exhibition games featuring three teams from the KHL.
SKA and Neftekhimik met again in Espoo, Finland, for their second friendly in as many days. In Sunday’s encounter the Gagarin Cup holder coasted to a 6-1 win, but Monday’s clash was a much tighter affair. The Nizhnekamsk men finished the first period with a 1-0 lead, thanks to a strike from Yegor Milovzorov, and they still held a slender advantage after the teams shared four goals in a lively second stanza, with Igor Polygalov and US forward Jeff Taffe canceling out strikes from SKA’s Evgeny Ketov and Yury Alexandrov. The Petersburg men gained the upper hand in the final third of the game, however, and two goals in 79 seconds, courtesy of Jarno Koskiranta and Alexander Kadeikin, were enough to give Andrei Nazarov’s men a hard-earned 4-3 victory.
In Bressanone, northern Italy, Traktor took on the Italian national team, which the day before had inflicted a surprise 4-2 defeat on the men of Magnitogorsk. Andrei Nikolishin’s men made an impressive start with a goal from Martin Ruzicka as early as the third minute, but their hosts fought back and ruthlessly punished a pair of Chelyabinsk penalties to grab a 2-1 win and join the men of Petersburg in celebrating a second successive victory.