Ukraine bounced back to the IIHF World Championships Division I Group A at the first time of asking ©IIHF

Ukraine bounced back to the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Championships Division I Group A at the first time of asking as they secured promotion on a dramatic final day of the Group B event at Dom Sportova in Zagreb.

Ukraine had edged closer to the gold medal by beating Britain 2-1 but needed Croatia to get at least a point in the last match of the competition against Lithuania to claim top spot in the group.

Croatia’s Michael Glumac broke the deadlock with 49 seconds remaining of the first stanza to put his side in front and they led 1-0 until the final period when Donatas Kumeliauskas kept a cool head in front of goal to draw Lithuania level.

With the Ukrainian players watching in the stands, Lithuania spurned a glorious chance to snatch the title late on as Arnoldas Bosas was denied by a superb stop from Vilim Rosandic with just two minutes of a thrilling game remaining.

After the two sides could not be separated in regulation time, the match went to penalties and Croatia held their nerve to clinch a 2-1 success, handing Ukraine the gold medal and promotion to the second tier of men’s international ice hockey.

Britain were forced to settle for silver after they were beaten 2-1 by eventual division winners Ukraine
Britain settled for the silver medal after they were beaten 2-1 by eventual champions Ukraine ©Ice Hockey UK

The agonising loss broke Lithuanian hearts as they would have finished at the summit of the six-team group had they managed to get past Croatia.

"The boys were working hard, disciplined, both yes and no, but this is an emotional game,” Lithuanian coach Bernd Haake said.

“Today the outcome could had been different, but overall to win a bronze medal is a big success for Lithuania, even though we had the chance to win a gold, but that is almost out of our reach.

“I am very happy with a medal."

Britain had also harboured hopes of promotion but their pursuit of the title was dashed by the 2-1 defeat at the hands of the Ukraine.

The British contingent required a solitary point to elevate themselves into Division IA and looked to be heading for the title when captain Jonathan Phillips gave them the lead.

Third-period goals from Dmytro Chernyshenko and Olexander Pobyedonostsev handed the Ukraine a pulsating comeback success, which proved crucial as they went on to seal promotion and banish the memories of last year’s relegation.