Will Chabalowski is the LHSHL’s most productive goalie right now.
Durant High School’s hockey team knows it can always count on Will Chabalowski between the pipes. The sophomore goaltender, a Brandon Academy student by day, currently leads the Lightning High School Hockey League in save percentage (97.6 percent) and has recorded two shutouts — most recently stonewalling the Newsome Wolves in the Cougars’ 5-0 Alafia River Rivalry win on Oct. 11. He’s got a 3-0 record on the ice and the only goal he’s given up came Sept. 6 in Durant’s 3-1 win over George Jenkins.
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You’ve been on fire so far this season. How do you stay cool under pressure out there?
When I go out on the ice, I like to pretend that it’s practice. That way, the pressure doesn’t weigh down on me as much. I like to go into the games with an absent mind so I can’t get distracted from the game or have any lingering thought.
What’s something you learned in the offseason that’s helped you get better this year?
Keeping cool under pressure. I feel like I’ve improved a lot since last season.
How do you get ready for a game? Any superstitions?
I like to socialize before a game. Not really to focus on the game as much again — it’s really about clearing your mind before the game. Listen to music, sit for a second, take your mind off of the game to not feel much pressure.
What are your goals for this season?
I would like to help us get to the state championships this year. It’s been our goal for a few years now and we haven’t been able to accomplish it. This is my second varsity season.
How did you first get started in hockey?
My parents played for a long time and when we moved down here, we wanted to pick a sport. I’ve been playing since I was three or four years old.
What made you stick with the sport?
Hockey is unique for me. There aren’t a lot of sports like it. It’s a lot more fun than other sports I’ve played. I’ve always wanted to play hockey.
Are there any NHL goalies you try to play like, or do you do your own thing?
I like to have my own playing style because it’s what makes me myself, but the one NHL goalie I look up to is Martin Brodeur.
What’s the coolest thing you’ve done in a game?
Making some great saves, like a big glove save where everyone thinks it’s gone in but, no, it hasn’t. It makes the crowd stand.
What’s some of the best advice you’ve gotten from a coach?
Coach Mike Capiello, he basically taught me everything I know after learning the basic fundamentals. One of the best things he told me was the technique I stick to now, to play as myself, because it’s a combination of many styles and he wants me to stick with that and develop from that.
What other sports do you play?
Hockey’s mostly been my main sport, but I also played soccer for a while. Soccer and flag football.
Is there a sport you’ve never tried before but would if you could?
I want to snowboard. It’s definitely different from hockey, though. Still cold, but different mechanics.