BRACKNELL Bees looked well placed to put the nightmare of a 7-0 defeat at Swindon the previous night behind them when they led league runners-up MK Lightning 4-1 on Sunday, writes Dave Wright.

But they ran out steam, while also paying the price for conceding power-play goals, and ended up losing 5-4.

All four goals came in the middle period and showed what Bees are capable of achieving when all the players are on song.

It was in total contrast to their miserable performance at the home of the Wildcats.

Player-coach Lukas Smital felt his side were not professional enough compared to their hosts and dismissed it as a bad day at the office.

“These games happen at times, we got turned over,” he admitted.

In all, Bees failed to take any of their 28 goal attempts, while the Wildcats had 33, with all seven goals coming from different players, four in the final 14 minutes.

Rio Grinnell Parke was voted Bees’ man of the match.

Speaking on Sunday, Smital commented: “We had a few words in the locker room after the game and I was looking for a strong reaction tonight. I thought the team gave me that even though we lost. Attitude is the most important thing in hockey and I thought it was there.”

Smital left himself out of the team for MK’s visit, explaining: “I didn’t play because I wanted to play guys in certain situations and have a good overlook from the bench. At this (late) stage of the season, I am looking for things and I was pleased with what I saw.”

Trailing to a ninth-minute goal from Jordan Cownie, the Bees flew out of the blocks in the second period and enjoyed arguably their best 20 minutes of the season, especially at The Hive, scoring four times in under 10 minutes.

Josh Smith, voted their man of the match, equalised on 20:39 when he turned home Luka Basic’s cross from the right and the fans were still celebrating that goal – their 100th in the league this season – when Shaun Thompson fired them ahead in the next minute.

With their confidence rising, further pressure led to Alex Barker making it 3-1 with a power-play goal on 28:02 and it was again two goals in as many minutes when a swift break by Basic, his third assist of the game, led to Martin Pavlicek making it 4-1.

Four goals from seven scoring attempts was an astonishing achievement by the league’s lowest scorers, but, sadly, their valiant efforts were to go unrewarded.

Bees were unable to maintain the momentum and it was not long before they started to slip with Lewis Hook pulling a goal back for Lightning on 33:15.

Lewis took just 19 seconds of the final period to find the net again, and all MK’s goals so far had come on power play.

“We can’t give penalties like that,” admitted Smital. “Three power-play goals, they executed them well – that’s a big difference. They played with a lot of authority as the game went on and we were unable to hang on.”

It needed a string of fine saves by Alex Mettam to keep the score down before Lightning made it 4-4 on 50:25 through Tim Carlon and then sealed their fifth victory of the season against Bracknell thanks to Antti Holli on 54:42.

Brave Bees battled hard to get back on terms, but understandably there were signs of tiredness at the end of a tough weekend.

The two sides meet again in Milton Keynes on Saturday (7pm) for what is Bees’ last away fixture of the season, while their penultimate home game is against second-bottom Sheffield Steeldogs on Sunday (6pm).