After just a single year in Division IB, Ukraine is ready to head back to Division IA for the 2017 World Hockey Championships.
Thanks to a win by Croatia over Lithuania, Ukraine’s victory was sealed with a 2-1 win over the eventual silver medalists from Great Britain. Ukraine’s goaltender Eduard Zakharchenko proved to be the difference maker, making 27 saves, including many big ones in a game that could have gone any way. Zakharchenko finished the tournament as the top goaltender, posting a .954 SP and 1.21 GAA which were very impressive for the 20-year-old goaltender.
With their win out of the way, Ukraine just needed Croatia to get a single point to give themselves promotion for the next year, which ended up being the case. Ukraine finished with a 4-0-0-1 record in five games, dropping their only result to Lithuania in a 2-1 loss on Friday.
The tournament victory was the second for Ukraine since 2013, the last time they played in Division IB. Ukraine was once a top division team, but haven’t played there since the 2007 edition.
Great Britain’s Ben O’Connor finished as the tournament’s best defenseman, scoring a goal and adding seven assists for eight points in just five games. Colorado Avalanche prospect Borna Rendulic was named top forward, posting seven points to help the home nation finish with the third place medal.
At the other end of the spectrum, Estonia managed to beat Romania 3-0 in their final game, giving them the points they needed to stay alive. Romania, meanwhile, will play in Division IIA next year after getting promoted from it in 2015, getting replaced by Netherlands in 2017.
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