JONATHAN PHILLIPS says the healthy rivalry of Sheffield Steelers’ netminders is acting as a positive spur for the rest of the team.
Matt Climie and Jackson Whistle are in a running battle for the No 1 spot under head coach Tmn Barrasso, whose team host Guildford Flames in tonight’s Challenge Cup quarter-final first leg (7.30pm).
Climie – who arrived in October – was singled out for praise by Barrasso for keeping the Steelers in Sunday night’s Elite League clash at Dundee Stars, saving 34 of 36 shot before a dramatic late comeback from 2-0 down saw the Steelers score three goals in the space of two minutes to win in overtime.
Whistle has also kept the Steelers in games single-handedly this season, with the pair’s performances not going unnoticed by those in front of them on the ice.
“It does put more of a jump in your step as a team when you see what both our goalies are capable of,” said Phillips.
“Matt was the reason we won in Dundee and Jackson has done the same in other games too.
“It’s good seeing that healthy competition between them both and they are working as a team and are very supportive of each other.”
TOnight will mark a fourth meeting of the season between Steelers and the Flames, with Paul Dixon’s side having won all three previous encounters, including a 6-5 win in Sheffield on November 10.
Phillips admitted the Steelers needed to improve their record against the Flames and said the manner of the win in Dundee proves they are a team that will keep going for the full 60 minutes, regardless of how much the odds are against them.
“Guildford are a good, fast-paced side who have had our number this year so far,” said Phillips.
It does put more of a jump in your step as a team when you see what both our goalies are capable of.Sheffield Steelers’ captain, Jonathan Phillips
“The way we won on Sunday has not happened too often to me, so it was pretty special. It proves that even when we look out of games we will keep going and going.”