THE bosses of the NIHL Laidler Conference side, Deeside Dragons, have reflected on their latest ice hockey season.

While head coach Gary Shaw and player coach Marc Lovell both admit that their team have had an ultimately disappointing season, they have also seen improvements from last year.

After dropping into the Laidler Conference a year ago from the Moralee league above, the Flintshire club finished seventh with 11 wins from 32 games.

But following a summer overhaul, which saw a number of players arrive in and depart from Deeside, the team ended this season in sixth place with an improved 13 victories from 28 matches.

At the beginning of the season, the Dragons hoped to finish in the top four play-off places, and at one point it looked as though it may happen after an impressive five game winning run.

However, their hopes were dashed by a disappointing double defeat against fellow play-off chasing Sheffield Senators.

Despite this, though, the Dragons can take heart from the fact they have enjoyed victories over every team in the division apart from second placed Bradford Bulldogs – who, on three occasions only got the better of Deeside by a single goal.

Having his say on the latest season, which may be his last, player-coach Marc Lovell said: “It’s been a disappointing season position-wise.

“We wanted to make the play-offs, but we’ve beaten every team in the league apart from Bradford who only narrowly beat us a few times.

“In terms of our performances, it’s been an improvement from last season, but it’s about consistency in this league.

“Earlier in the season we had a five game winning run which took us up to fourth place, but then we didn’t have the best of weekends against Sheffield and it slipped away.”

The Dragons also had a league-high of 742 penalty minutes, which Gary Shaw believes played a part in his side failing to reach the top four play-off places which they aimed for.

Despite that, though, the head coach was full of praise for his players. He said: “Karl (Bacon) has struggled with his penalties this year, but he’s had a good year on the ice and played some really good stuff.

Mike Jones has had a spell out, but he’s come back into the team and done really well, where he’s gone from strength to strength.

“Radim (Reznicek) was really good when he played, while Sam (Bolwell) had a good season too until she picked up her injury. Then Mike (Rodgers) came in and played well when too.

“Sam Plant has struggled with his decision making at times, but he’s still learning.”

Shaw also paid tribute to his youngsters for becoming integral members of the team. He added: “Billy (Perks), James (Shaw), and Charlie (Spridgeon) have all played really well this year.

“They’ve all really stepped up, and they’re not juniors anymore, but central parts of the team.”