Israel finished fourth in Division IIA of the World Ice Hockey Championships over the weekend, after winning two of its five group games. The Israelis stifled Ireland 7-1 in the final game on Sunday in Mercurea, Ciuc, Romania, with Maxim Birbraer scoring a hat trick, and assisting on two other goals. Goaltender Evgeny Gussin was outstanding throughout the tournament but could not prevent defeats to Belgium, Serbia and Romania earlier in the week. Last year Israel won a bronze medal at the Division IIA tournament. The week-long event began badly for Israel with a a 13-0 thrashing by Romania in the opening match up. The team then lost more narrowly to Belgium by a 6-3 margin, and 4-1 against Serbia. In both games, Israel jumped into the lead but couldn't sustain the momentum. In its fourth match Israel beat Bulgaria. After the score was tied at 4-4 at the end of regulation time Birbraer scored the winner 28 seconds into overtime. Romania was relegated last year from the first Division. After steamrollering its first four opponents this year it was no surprise when the hosts played Belgium for the gold medal in the final match on Sunday and came away with an easy 5-1 victory. Romania will return to the first Division next year, while Ireland will be relegated to the third Division.