Sheffield Steeler Brandon Whistle targets family bragging rights over brother Jackson in Belfast Giants clash

Imagine the scenario: two teams locked in a tied score dogfight, going into the final minute of the match.

By Bob Westerdale
Thursday, 10th March 2022, 10:41 am

Suddenly there's a breakaway as a solo skater darts his way through to goal.

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On the puck is Sheffield Steelers' forward Brandon Whistle.

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Staring him down from the net is his sibling, Belfast Giants' goaltender Jackson Whistle....

Sport has thrown up crazier moments than this.

And, who knows, it could be a storyline of a game on Friday or Saturday night at the SSE Arena.

The Whistles are close-knit brothers off the ice - but they will be fierce competitors on it.

Brandon Whistle.

There is so much at stake for both.

Belfast have taken Sheffield's spot at the top of the league and mean to hold on to it.

Sheffield are trying desperately to regroup after injuries have weakened their title momentum.

Steelers have slipped from favourites to underdogs.

Jackson Whistle.

Brandon, 24, appears to feel no pressure going into the hugely important weekend.

"It is pretty neat to play them a few times there, down the stretch, to hopefully battle out for first place, it will be fun" he says.

He looks forward to the challenge, saying: "It is what everybody gets up for, it's a big game, so we have to show up there and get the wins."

He has never played against a brother who is two years older than him. He relishes the prospect.

Brandon Whistle.

"I don't want him to play well against us... when he's not playing against us it is nice to see him get some wins and some big stats for sure. There will definitely be some banter there, back and forth."

Jackson, the Great Britain netminder who played for Sheffield in season 2018-19, has played 12 league games for Giants and is second only to Cardiff Devils' Mac Carruth in save percentage.

Not that there's much to show between them: Carruth boasts a 93.74% save rate, Whistle has 93.73%!

With Barry Brust seemingly out, Steelers will have Rok Stojanovic in goal, he is third in the EIHL pecking order with a solid 92.94%.

Sheffield have lost their last three games to Cardiff, the team below them, so need to radically improve results against Belfast the team above them.

Whistle junior has played against Devils twice this season and admits they "shot ourselves in the foot" in one of the matches, but otherwise is content with the way the teams match up.

He is clearly an optimist who is enjoying his career more now having moved up from Leeds Knights in the NIHL.

"I love everything about Sheffield, coming to the rink every day is such a blast. Foxy (coach Aaron Fox) has given me an opportunity to get some ice time which I love and it's like a second home to me."