Most players would be happy with a 14-goal first half, but the Guelph Storm’s Isaac Ratcliffe knows he’s capable of more.
The Philadelphia Flyers draft pick is looking to better last year’s total of 28 goals and got a good jump on the task Thursday at the Sleeman Centre, scoring twice in a 3-1 win over the Peterborough Petes in the first game back after the Christmas break.
“I’m pretty happy with it (the first half) but I think I still have a lot more to give,” said Ratcliffe. “I’m definitely going to have to step it up if we’re going to make a push here and I could say the same for the rest of the guys in the room.
“We definitely have a lot more to give and I think you’re going to see even more from us in the second half.”
Ratcliffe said Thursday’s win was a solid effort for a first game back.
“It’s hard to get your legs under you in just two days of practice, but we did well. We kept it slow off the start and tried to control the pace,” he said.
Both of Ratcliffe’s goals were meat and potatoes tallies, with the lanky winger going hard to the net and cashing in on a pair of rebounds off the pads of Petes netminder Dylan Wells.
“Just trying to get to those dirty areas,” Ratcliffe said.
Tag Bertuzzi had Guelph’s other goal in a game that was tied 1-1 after the first period before the Storm scored two unanswered in the second frame.
The Storm win was a tidy effort, particularly on the defensive side of things.
With Dmitri Samorukov off playing for Russia at the World Juniors, the team is going with five defencemen and that group kept things economical on the night, moving pucks quickly, not rushing too much and, as the coaches like to say, keeping things simple.
They held the Petes to just 29 shots on net.
“I thought our guys were pretty efficient tonight. When we made mistakes there was some good second effort,” Storm coach George Burnett said.
“We expected a game of mistakes right after Christmas and a long layoff but I thought we did a decent job. A lot of good things,” Burnett said.
There was definitely some locker room discussion with the defence regarding conserving energy, Burnett said.
“Absolutely. All five guys were significantly involved in the game tonight. We know we can use (forward James) McEwan back there if we need to, but with a day off tomorrow we thought we could go with the five tonight.”
The Storm leaves Friday morning for Sault Ste. Marie where they play the Greyhounds, winners of 21 straight games. Sunday they play in Sudbury.
Next home game is Friday when they host the Owen Sound Attack.