Sheffield Steelers’ Jackson Whistle is the Elite Ice Hockey League’s Player of Week 23!
The Steelers’ netminder played a vital part in his team’s pair of wins over the weekend, and stopped all bar three of the 72 shots he faced – finishing with a save percentage of 95.83%.
“This was definitely a really big weekend for us. With where we are in the standings, taking four points was huge from these games,” began the 23-year old.
“Things didn’t really start the way we wanted this season, and it does suck a bit to be where we are in the table, but right now we’re focusing on moving forward. It’s a dogfight for playoff positions with all the teams so close to each other. We want to make the playoffs, try to finish as high as we can to get better seeding, and then we want to go and win them.”
Head Coach Tom Barrasso has repeatedly said that Whistle has been the Steelers’ best player for much of the past six weeks, and this was no exception – only one goal against in the home win over rivals Nottingham before the Steelers went to Coventry and recorded a 4-2 win.
“It’s great to hear but I don’t pay attention to it too much. I try to prepare in the same way for every game, go out on the ice and do my job. If I’m doing that then it gives our team the best chance to win, so that’s what I really think about,” said Whistle, who became the Steelers outright number one when Matt Climie was released last month.
“Of course it added some pressure when Matt left, but in a good way. Obvious I knew I’d be playing more, so it’s allowed me to get into a rhythm of playing games and feeling better on the ice.”
And what of Head Coach Tom Barrasso, who came into the team after the disappointing start? “He’s an awesome coach,” affirmed Whistle. “He expects a lot from his players, and in turn, we expect a lot from him. He’s got us playing the way he wants, and everyone is buying into that.
“After every game, we go through the video and over certain circumstances that we need to work better on the next day in practice. It’s really good to have this kind of coach to work with.”