WEST WARWICK — Offense might’ve carried the Coventry hockey team to a 16-1-0-1 record and the Division II-Central title.
But it’s been senior goalie Spencer Patti and the Oakers’ 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. It’s on the other end of the ice where teams have found the Oakers tough to beat.
Patti, after allowing two goals in Coventry’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 Friday’s overtime.
“I knew what we had to do and I know what’s at stake and this is the time to give it my all,” Patti said before Monday’s practice at Benny Magiera Rink. “This is when it counts. Knowing that we are playing for the championship now, it helps me get focused. It’s really inspiring and has helped me play better.”
The Oakers haven’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 Friday’s clinching game.
Patti has outdueled two of Division II’s best goalies to reach the Division II final against the Patriots. First, Patti overcame Rogers’ net minder Redmond Brow and then the Oaker won a great battle with Prout’s Zane Morgan.