By Ross Forman – Loyola Gold is gaining steam at the right time.
The Ramblers have been somewhat down this season, at least by the team’s long-standing tradition, but with league playoffs and the state tournament right around the corner, Gold looks poised to strike.
Loyola honored its 10 seniors before a Jan. 11 game in Lincolnwood against Scholastic Hockey League rival Saint Viator. The Ramblers went on to win 4-1, with a hat trick from senior AJ Cornelison.
And on Monday, Jan. 20, the Ramblers blanked St. Ignatius 3-0 in Northbrook to win the 2020 Jesuit Cup, with goals from JC Cervieri, Nick Braun and Freddy FitzSimons. Goaltender Yianno Nikas earned the shutout and Braun received the Player of the Game honor.
The annual Jesuit Cup pits top Catholic schools each January for three days of action, co-hosted this year by Loyola Academy and St. Ignatius.
The Ramblers outscored their 4 Jesuit Cup foes 25-5.
Gold wraps up the Scholastic Hockey League regular-season slate with 2 high-profile games: Jan. 29 against New Trier Green and Feb. 1 against Saint Viator. The Ramblers are 9-13-0-2 in league play.
Forward Nicholas Braun leads the Ramblers with 9 goals, 9 assists in 23 SHL games, with at least 1 point in 6 of the team’s past 7 league games.
Kevin Purcell leads the team with 10 assists in SHL play, and 3 goals.
Loyola Gold is ranked No. 8 in the new Top 25 Rankings of Illinois High School Hockey Teams (as of January 25). New Trier Green remains at No. 1, followed by Glenbrook North, Saint Viator, Providence Catholic and Barrington. The new Top 25:
1. New Trier Green
2. Glenbrook North
3. Saint Viator
4. Providence Catholic
7. Glenbrook South
8. Loyola Gold
9. St. Ignatius
10. Benet Academy
11. Hinsdale Central
13. Lake Forest
14. Maine Township
16. New Trier Blue
17. New Trier White
19. Naperville North
20. Carmel Catholic
24. St. Rita
25. Wheaton West
Others to Watch: OPRF, York, Neuqua Valley, Oswego, Evanston
Ross Forman has written about Illinois high school hockey for more than 15 years and is the only sportswriter to have covered Illinois High School hockey every year during that stretch. He played locally and then at Indiana University before becoming a referee. Ross was a referee for the State Championship game several years ago at the United Center. Contact Ross by email at Rossco814@aol.com.