DEESIDE Dragons slipped to a disappointing double defeat to Sheffield Senators with the results officially putting them out of the race for the play-offs.

Although it was unlikely for the Dragons to finish the season in top four, it wasn’t mathematically impossible until their recent 6-1 and 5-2 defeats against Sheffield.

Reflecting on the games, Dragons player-coach, Marc Lovell, admits his side were second best. He said: “I’m disappointed with the whole weekend, and especially with our first game (which the Dragons lost 6-1 in Sheffield).

“We were lucky to only be 3-1 down going in to the last 10 minutes of the game with the scoreline making it look closer than it was.

“But then we spent that time at the end of the game killing penalties and Sheffield got another three deserved goals.

“We started off the next game as we finished the first, slow and sluggish. I can’t say that we were the better team in either of those games until the last period of the second game.

“It’s frustrating that we can put in the kind of performance that was able to beat Telford (8-4) a few weeks ago to one like this.

“On a performance level, we were never really in it in either of the games against Sheffield, but we’ll look back on it and hopefully we can end the season on a high.”

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Sheffield’s Sam Rodgers fired his side into an early lead as he slammed the puck into the Deeside net after seven minutes.

But Dragons netminder Mike Rogers was in top form as he kept the hosts out for the remainder of the period before club captain James Parsons equalised with a fine solo effort 30 seconds after the restart.

Rogers enjoyed another solid 20 minutes in the second period as he made 16 saves to deny the Senators, but there was nothing he could do to stop Sheffield’s Sam Rodgers from restoring his team’s lead at the halfway point of the game.

Bailey Templar then made it 3-1 to the home side with 15 minutes remaining, before the Dragons saw Billy Perks, Karl Bacon, Marc Lovell and Cameron Kushnirenko all receive penalties in the final ten minutes.

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The hosts capitalised on their player advantage with Truels Lone, Thomas Humphries and George Crawshaw all scoring in that time to round off a resounding 6-1 success.

Sheffield started brighter in the return fixture in Flintshire too, with Tobias Ryter putting his side ahead after just four minutes this time around.

Maxim Hirst then doubled the Senators’ advantage before James Shaw set up Simon Furnival to score his eleventh of the season to make it 2-1 at the end of the first period.

With Chris Jones serving a penalty, Sam Colton restored Sheffield’s two goal lead soon after the restart before Nathan Parkes-Britton scored shortly before the half hour mark to put the visitors 4-1 up.

Joshua Aheran added another goal not long afterwards, with the score staying at 5-1 right the way up until the last five minutes when Marc Lovell helped Chris Jones to make it 5-2 which is how it ended.

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Those results leave the Dragons almost certain to end the season in sixth place, unless Telford win each of their remaining five fixtures.

The Flintshire club will have a free weekend to reflect on their performances before returning in mid-March for their final two games of the campaign – away to second placed Altrincham before hosting their third placed local rivals Widnes.

Elsewhere in the Laidler Conference, Widnes Wild moved up to third with a 9-1 win in Blackburn coming a day before a dramatic 4-3 overtime victory against league leaders Hull.

The Jets, though, are still three points clear of second placed Altricham and eight ahead of Widnes as we enter the final weeks of the season.

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