With the 2019-20 season cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic, us at the Jr. Blues would like to give special attention to our age-out players, who will be continuing their hockey careers elsewhere next year. First off in this new series is goaltender Will Oliver, who earlier this season announced that he will be playing NCAA Division III hockey next year at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston.
A native of St. Louis and a former prep standout for De Smet Jesuit, the 6’2”, 180 lb ‘keeper returned home in October of this season. He was instantly slotted in the Jr. Blues lineup and proved to be part of a strong goaltending tandem with Brett Tome this season. In 18 games played, Oliver compiled a 10-7-0 record with a 2.48 goals-against average, and a .918 save percentage.
The big goaltender said he will always be thankful for the Jr. Blues for giving him the opportunity to finish out his junior career at home. “I knew the Jr. Blues were a good program, knew a couple guys on the team, and I just knew it was going to be a fun year.” He cites his back-to-back shutouts at home—on February 2nd against Peoria and February 9th versus Milwaukee—as his fondest memories of the season, especially since they were his first ever clean sheets of his junior hockey career.
“Will was a great, steady goaltender for us as we moved into the back half of the season,” said Jr. Blues head coach Chris Flaugher. “He’s mentally strong and physically quick, something [goaltending coach] Mark Staub really likes to see in his goalies. We’re proud to say that we played a role in his development and molded him into a college hockey player.”
Moving forward, Oliver is excited to take the lessons learned from his time with the Jr. Blues and apply them with the Leopards. “They’re playing in a great conference [the Commonwealth Coast Conference] and made it to their conference finals last year, so I can’t wait to go up there and build on that,” he noted.
Next up in the “Saluting Our ‘99s” Series: forward Sean Hofstetter.