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Isaac Ratcliffe looking to join the elusive 50-goal club this weekend

Guelph Storm winger needs four goals to hit the magical 50 mark

At this rate, Isaac Ratcliffe might do it tonight.

Ratcliffe is looking to become the first Guelph Storm player to score 50 goals in a season since Ryan Callahan did it 13 years ago.

If he does, he will be come just the fourth player in the franchise's 28 seasons to hit 50, joining Callahan and Mike Prokopec (1993-94), who both scored 52, and Todd Bertuzzi, has the club record at 54.

WIth eight regular season games remaining Racliffe has 46, with games this weekend against Windsor and Kitchener.

He’s been on a blistering pace of late, scoring 10 times in his last five games.

It’s been a heck of a ride for a kid that scored five goals his first season but has developed into one of the best goalscorers in the team’s history, one who was a gangly gangly kid with big smile back in 2015 after being drafted 15th overall by the Storm.

"I think I'm a pretty strong player around the net. I can put the puck in the net when I need to and I think I can play strong defensively as well,” Ratcliffe said on draft day.

Then-head scout Chris McCleary marvelled about Ratcliffe’s skating as much as he did his scoring.

“He's almost six-five but skates like someone five-five. He's got a beautiful stride on him," McCleary said on draft day.

A nose for the net, soft hands in close and his patented wrist shot have helped Ratcliffe get where he is.

With 125 career goals, regular season and playoffs, he sits seventh all-time in total goals for the Storm. Top dog Callahan’s 151 seems out of reach, but second-place, which is Daniel Paille’s 140, would seem possible depending on what kind of playoff run the team has.  

While he would appear to be a shoe-in for 50 and an outside shot at Bertuzzi’s 54, let’s not forget that goalscoring tends to be a streaky occupation.

Prior to his current five-game streak, Ratcliffe had three goals in the previous 10 games.

Two players have already scored 50 this season in the OHL and three others would appear to be on their way. That would make five 50 goal scorers and there haven’t been that many in the league in 20 years.

It’s no easy feat.

A couple of other statistics also make Ratcliffe’s totals even more impressive: one, he doesn’t score a tonne of goals on the power play. In fact his 11 goals with the man advantage aren’t even tops on the team, that honour belongs to Liam Hawel, who has 12.

Then there’s the penalty minutes. Ratcliffe is third in the OHL with 97 penalty minutes. That’s a long time for a shooter to be sitting and not sniping.

This season has been a tremendous one for Ratcliffe. Four more goals and it becomes historic.


Tony Saxon

About the Author: Tony Saxon

Tony Saxon has had a rich and varied 20 year career as a journalist, an award winning correspondent, columnist, reporter, feature writer and photographer.
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