Belfast Giants goalie Jackson Whistle relishes tough away clashes

Belfast Giants netminder Jackson Whistle says it has been great this week to catch up some rest after last weekend's crucial double-header against the Sheffield Steelers.

Speaking to the News Letter earlier this week he explained: “It has been nice to have a day off and get caught up with my rest.

“But I am also busy getting ready for the weekend ahead too.”

Looking back at the games in Sheffield he said: “It was good. It was a hard fought weekend by both teams.

Belfast Giants’ Jackson Whistle before a warm-up pre-season game against the Cardiff Devils at the SSE Arena, Belfast. Photo by William Cherry/Presseye

“Going into Sheffield you always know it might be hard to win two games, but we were pretty happy to get the points out of the last game.

“Stealing those points, especially with short bodied on the bench is a great achievement.”

Jackson agrees the opening game could have gone either way and it was a tight encounter at 1-2 in favour of the Steelers.

He said: “Both teams had chances in that game in the third period to take over the game. We battle hard in an attempt to get the game back but it wasn't to be. Their goalie also played well and kept our chances out.”

He says the whole squad were bumped to have taken the win on Sunday.

He said: “Sunday's game was a real character effort by everyone on the team. I think we realised that going into that rink to steal as many points as we could was going to be huge.

“Sheffield can be a tough place to go into and win. With the injuries on the bench we had a number of guys step up, we had Sean Norris come up and Kell Beattie, both those lads played important minutes in that game and they both did a really good job too.

“Games like those can help a team bond and that's certainly what we saw last weekend in Sheffield. Those games can help a team out a long way as the season goes along.”

Being short-benched has meant that the Giants have had to manage player fatigue.

Whistle remarked: “The biggest issue from players standpoint when the bench is short bodies is that they keep their shifts fast paced but short as possible, getting on and off in 30 seconds is crucial. It's all about maintaining the energy levels that they have.

“In Sheffield we got ourselves up by three goal lead and they battle back against in the second period. We knew in the final period that they were coming and we had to hold them off. We did that and it was great job all round.”