Belfast Giants coach Adam Keefe delighted with star's sparkling form
Jackson Whistle has won the praise of coach Adam Keefe for the part he has played in keeping the Belfast Giants in the Elite League title frame.
The 22-year-old goaltender was only beaten once by the Sheffield Steelers as the Giants won 5-1 last Saturday night, and he followed that up with a superb shut-out in Tuesday's 7-0 Challenge Cup victory against the Fife Flyers.
With long-serving Stephen Murphy missing since September after undergoing surgery on his shoulder, Whistle has shown great maturity in his longest spell as a starting goaltender, and now Keefe is calling on his defence to help his No.1 maintain his form with a massive home double-header against the Nottingham Panthers coming up this weekend.
"Coming into the season we wanted to split games between the two of them and I think it would have been a great tandem," said Keefe. "As we saw last year, when they both get rolling and are both confident we're a dangerous team. No other team in the league has a strong tandem. Look around and it's pretty much the starting goalie plays every game and now we're in that situation with Jackson.
"He has stepped up big time. Jackson is a proud guy who wants his goals against average down. It's not always his fault, sometimes other guys make mistakes and we have to play better defensively as a team to help him out.
"I was pleased with how the guys stuck with it on Tuesday to get him the shut-out and he had some huge saves too.
"I can't say enough good things about Jackson, especially being so young and having to go through double hip surgery."
Keefe will have Sebastien Sylvestre back after suspension and he will add even more firepower to a forward unit that saw seven different players score against Fife.