IT just wasn’t to be for Deeside Dragons in their NIHL Division One North play-offs quest this season - but it’s still been a terrific season.

Whitley Warriors ended Deeside’s campaign in the play-offs 12 months ago and they repeated they trick with a 13-9 aggregate victory this time out.

“There have been some ups-and-downs through the season,” said Dragons’ assistant head coach Matt Compton.

“But everyone’s put so much effort into this season.

“It’s an improvement on last year. Sometimes, you have to get things into perspective.”

A post on the club’s Facebook page read: “The Aspray Chester Deeside Dragons would like to thank all our supporters, sponsors, and volunteers for their backing of the lads this season.

“Although we came up short, the way the club is evolving from the juniors right through to the seniors is something to be proud about.

“Congratulations to the Whitley Warriors on advancing in the playoffs and good luck in Sheffield. Enjoy the break, we will be back stronger.”

Dragons were looking to make their mark in the home leg first up, but they were defeated 6-4.

A hat-trick from Ross Kennedy earned him the MVP award in the first encounter and he was joined on the scoresheet by Andy McKinney.

Deeside were looking to turn things around in the second encounter 24 hours later, but it was Whitley who bagged a 7-5 verdict on this occasion.

Warriors built-up a 3-0 lead by the end of the first period, while goals from Brodie Jesson and Chris Jones got the Dragons on the scoreboard in the second period.

There was too much left to do, though, as McKinney, Jared Dickinson and Jakub Hajek all found the target in the closing period.

Goaltender Matt Croyle was Deeside’s MVP.

Whitley general manager Willie Dunn told the Warriors’ YouTube channel: “Deeside are a very good team, that’s why they finished above us in the league.

“But I thought tonight the crowd played their part. We asked them to be loud, asked them to bring the noise and I thought they did that, particularly in the first (period) but all through the game.”

Compton added: “We built a team to challenge for the league.

“We have proved we can do that.

“Eighteen months in as a team, maybe if we had one-or-two more pieces, that would get us over the line next year.

“We have to be careful not to dissect it too much.

“You look at the good stuff. We have beaten Billingham away and we’ve won against Whitley Bay and things we have done as a club that we’ve not done for a long, long time.

“Fourth in Division One, our highest finish for a good few years.

“It doesn’t need a massive overhaul. Talking to new people who have come in, they’ve commented how good the group is and the team, not just as players,but as people as well.”

League winners Billingham Stars booked their spot in the next stage of the play-offs with a 10-1 aggregate triumph over Nottingham Lions.

Blackburn Hawks got the better of Hull Jets 8-4 and there was a 12-6 success for Solihull Barons against Widnes Wild.

In the semi-finals, Whitley will take on Billingham and Blackburn come up against Solihull.

Cardiff Devils sealed runners-up spot in the Elite League with a 4-3 overtime win over Belfast Giants, who had beaten the Welsh side 5-3 earlier in the week.