Senior captain Andrew Forsyth (pictured above) answered immediately when asked if last year’s 9-6 loss to New Trier in the state final still was fresh in his mind.

“That feeling has never left,” he said. “It motivated us throughout the offseason and is motivates us now. Winning the state title is our ultimate goal.”

The Ramblers got off to a good start Tuesday with a 24-0 win over St. Laurence at home.

Forsyth and junior Nolan Chow each totaled three goals and three assists, while senior Quinn Callahan scored a team-best four goals to go with one assist. Junior Alek Szczupak won 23 out of 24 faceoffs, helping prevent St. Laurence from taking any shots on goal.

Loyola head coach Rob Snyder said he was most impressed by the team’s effort.

“Hustling for groundballs has been a focus, and we did a good job of that [Tuesday].” he said. “Every time that ball hits the ground, we want it to be ours. We will have to do that when we go out East.”

Junior Mick Burden also stood out in the season opener. He won the first three faceoffs before giving way to Szczupak and finished with two goals and two assists.

The Ramblers were without several key contributors Tuesday, including senior captain Luca Lazzaretto. An All-American as a junior, the Princeton-bound Lazzaretto sat out the opener with a hamstring injury. After assisting the Loyola Gold hockey team to a state title Saturday, senior Matthew Parma, junior All-American Timothy Hackett and junior Cooper Prawdzik both didn’t play against St. Laurence.

While Snyder would have liked everybody available to him Tuesday, he said it was a good game to get newcomers an opportunity to play meaningful minutes, especially on the defensive end after the Ramblers graduated Bryan Giella, Kyle Koch and Ian Swenson. Koch was a three-time All-American and is a freshman player at Marquette.

“We lost the core of our defense, so it’s important to get guys experience,” Snyder said. “We are young there, but I think we should be strong.”

Loyola plays St. Rita at home Wednesday before leaving for the Washington D.C. area next week for three games. On the trip, the Ramblers will play Our Lady of Good Counsel (Olney, Maryland), Calverton School (Huntingtown, Maryland) and Georgetown Prep (Washington D.C.).

“Our coaches were happy with the win, but we know it’s going to be tough when we go out East,” Forsyth said. “We are trying to prepare ourselves for the intensity we will see in those games. We know we can be much better.”

Photo credit: Melissa Krein/Loyola