Team Ukraine Triumphs at IIHF Women's Worlds Division III A, Earns Promotion

Team Ukraine takes home a convincing and meaningful gold at the IIHF Women's Worlds Division III A tournament.

Team Ukraine Triumphs at IIHF Women's Worlds Division III A, Earns Promotion
Team Ukraine at the IIHF Women's World Championships Division III A tournament in Zagreb, Croatia. PHOTO: FHU

Team Ukraine took gold at the IIHF Women's World Championships Division III Group A tournament on March 17 in Zagreb, Croatia. The victory earns them promotion to next year's Division II Group B.

The promotion comes a year after Ukraine missed out on climbing the ranks by a single point. Unlike in upper divisions, where multiple teams earn promotion, down in the lower tiers the honor is reserved for one team.

Over five games the team racked up 28 goals, with the full Ukrainian top line of Valeriia Manchak-Jensen, Daria Tsymyrenko, and Polina Telehina taking first, second, and third respectively in tournament scoring. Team captain Manchak-Jensen scored the overtime winner on March 14 against Serbia, keeping Ukraine undefeated.

In net, Viktoria Tkachenko stood tall in all five matches and finished with a respectable .921 save percentage and a 1.27 goals against average.

Ukraine captain Valeriia Manchak-Jensen swarming the net against Romania. PHOTO: Stjepan Cizmadija / IIHF

Alternate captain Daria Tsymyrenko spoke to The Ice Garden about the victory.

"First I wanna say that our team worked so hard to get the medals this season and it’s deserved," said Tsymyrenko.

"The team spirit on the World Championship was incredible; [it] felt like we’ve been together our whole life and deep down in our minds we knew that we came there finally to take the gold! So thanks to the team for that, and of course to our team staff and the fans! They were amazing; the support during the worlds really helped us."

She continued, "I never experienced that feeling in my life [after taking gold]. I can’t even describe it. I’ve been on the World Championships three times now (and one qualification), and never [have] I had something even close to that. I’m so proud of the girls; I think we did really something special for our country. We have made history.

"Personally for me since I was a kid, I always wanted to play for the national team, so to win the gold medal is out of my mind.

"That moment, on the ice, when we held the cup, when we sang our national anthem, when we cried, when we fought for our dream for our country, we will always remember!"