WEST WARWICK â€” Offense mightâ€™ve carried the Coventry hockey team to a 16-1-0-1 record and the Division II-Central title.
But itâ€™s been senior goalie Spencer Patti and the Oakersâ€™ stingy defense that has Coventry on the precipice of its first Division II title since 2003.
After scoring nearly five goals a game during the regular season, Coventry has managed to score just three goals in every playoff game. Itâ€™s on the other end of the ice where teams have found the Oakers tough to beat.
Patti, after allowing two goals in Coventryâ€™s first playoff game with Rogers 10 days ago, has allowed just three goals in the last three games. The senior came into the playoffs having never won a playoff game, but he has been brilliant in the 180 regulation minutes and in Fridayâ€™s overtime.
â€śI knew what we had to do and I know whatâ€™s at stake and this is the time to give it my all,â€ť Patti said before Mondayâ€™s practice at Benny Magiera Rink. â€śThis is when it counts. Knowing that we are playing for the championship now, it helps me get focused. Itâ€™s really inspiring and has helped me play better.â€ť
The Oakers havenâ€™t always made it easy on Patti during the playoffs. Even though Coventry has yet to lose a playoff game in four tries, the Oakers have spent far too much time in the penalty box. Coventry gave No. 8 Rogers five five-on-threes last week and Prout had a number of power plays in the third period of Fridayâ€™s clinching game.
Patti has outdueled two of Division IIâ€™s best goalies to reach the Division II final against the Patriots. First, Patti overcame Rogersâ€™ net minder Redmond Brow and then the Oaker won a great battle with Proutâ€™s Zane Morgan.