At this time last year, the Flyers had multiple prospects playing in juniors and the Phantoms were still in the middle of a playoff run. As of Monday morning, only one Flyers prospect is still in action.
Isaac Ratcliffe, the Flyers second-round pick in 2017, is heading to the Memorial Cup with the Guelph Storm as champions of the OHL. The Storm secured the Memorial Cup berth with an 8-3 win over the Ottawa 67s on Sunday afternoon.
Ratcliffe, who is captain for Guelph, had a four-point game in the clincher, scoring two goals and adding two assists. That brought his playoff totals to 15 goals and 30 points.
The 6’6” forward possesses a unique skill set -- combining incredible size with tremendous hands that make him a scoring threat.
Guelph’s journey to the Memorial Cup required leaders like Ratcliffe to be a constant presence. Guelph swept Kitchener in the first round, then fell behind in the second round, 3-0, to the London Knights. Guelph pulled off the incredible comeback, winning the next four games.
In the OHL Semi-finals, Guelph again fell into a hole, falling behind 3-1 in the series to the Saginaw Spirit. Again, Guelph rallied to win three straight games and advance to the OHL Finals.
Ottawa took the first two games of the OHL Finals, before Guelph came back to win the next three going into Sunday’s Game 6. In the game, Guelph trailed 2-0 before scoring eight of the next nine goals to claim the title. Entering the OHL Finals, Ottawa was a perfect 12-0 and increased that to 14-0 with the first two wins before losing four straight games.
Ratcliffe will now advance to the Memorial Cup with Guelph. The tournament begins on Friday, May 17, and Guelph plays for the first time on Saturday against the QMJHL champions, Rouyn-Noranda. Guelph gets back in action on Sunday, May 19, against host team Halifax. Guelph closes out Round Robin play by facing the WHL champions. The WHL Finals are going to a Game 7 between Vancouver and Prince Albert. If Round Robin play requires a tiebreaker game, it will be on Thursday, May 23. The semi-final will be on Friday, May 24 and the championship game will be on Sunday, May 26.
Ratcliffe will be playing in his final few games with Guelph in this tournament. Ratcliffe, who is already signed to an entry-level deal, is turning pro next season. The 20-year-old will likely start the season with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in the AHL.