Ukraine defeated Croatia 4-0 on Sunday to win the opening game of the World Hockey Championship Division One Group B tournament, according to The Canadian Press.

Vadym Shakhraychuk and Oleksandr Karaulshchuk scored third-period goals 21 seconds apart to seal the win for Ukraine.

Division One is a tier below the 16-team world championship level. This year`s world event is being held in Halifax and Quebec City.

The winners of round-robin Group A - being played concurrently in Austria - and Group B will both be promoted to the top tier for 2009.

Ukraine took part in last year`s world championship but was relegated to Division 1 after finishing last, while Croatia was promoted after winning its group in Division Two.

In other Group B games, Csaba Kovacs and Daniel Fekete scored in the third period to lead Hungary to a 5-3 win over Estonia.

Darcy Mitani scored at 18:02 to cap a four-goal first period as host Japan coasted to a 5-0 win over Lithuania.

Japan goaltender Masahito Haruna made 19 saves for the shutout.

The Canadian Press