WEST WARWICK — Goals have been hard to come by for the Coventry High hockey team over the last two weekends.
After scoring at least four goals during their eight-game winning streak, the Oakers haven’t lit the lamp more than three times in their last three games, and that includes Saturday night’s game against the only team in Division II with just one win, North Smithfield.
The Northmen, whose game plan was clearly to defend at all costs and frustrate the veteran Oakers, allowed just one goal in the first two periods to enter the final period tied. But Coventry’s leading-goal scorer, senior Nick Paiva, and defenseman Connor Forsythe tallied 49 seconds apart early in the third period to lead the Oakers to a 3-1 crossover victory.
“We’re struggling to put the puck in the net,” Coventry coach Ken Bird said after his team picked up four points on the weekend by scoring just five goals. “We’re dominating play substantially and last night (a 2-1 overtime win over Prout) was the same thing. In 90 minutes of hockey we’ve given up 20 shots and we’ve had around 80.
“We’re having good, quality chances. There’s nothing you can do, it’s just a team thing. We’re grabbing wins and playing well and we’re playing hard but we’re struggling to put the puck in the net.”
Coventry (10-1-1, 21 points in Division II-Central) is back in control of the race for the top seed in the playoffs thanks to the result of a contest that happened earlier in the night at the Civic Center. Division II-South leading Middletown scored three goals in the third period to upend Pilgrim 4-0.
The Patriots, who beat the Oakers last week to reclaim the division lead, also have 21 points, but the Pats have played one more game than the Oakers.
“It was definitely motivation when we found out they lost because we knew we could take first place back and the first seed in the playoffs,” said Connor DiPetro, who scored a goal and added an assist.