On a roster with more freshmen and sophomores than juniors and seniors, Caty Cusick and Kaela Finegan have been the glue holding the Ramblers together, according to Loyola head coach Ralph Dynek.
Not only are the senior captains talented, they have been instrumental in the development of the younger players, he said. Finegan was one of three high school players named a Chicago Blackhawks November Captain, an honor that recognizes the leaders in the sport.
“They are fantastic,” he said. “They’ve taken these girls under their wing and helped bring them to another level. A lot of freshmen don’t know the Loyola way.”
Cusick is a forward who can play center and left wing. She scored Loyola’s lone goal in team’s 2-1 loss to Glenbrook on Sunday in Northbrook.
“Very versatile, great with the stick, good skater and a heads-up player,” Dynek said.
Finegan headlines the defense and is one of the best players in the state. She has committed to play hockey at Middlebury College.
“Unbelievably great hands and shot,” Dynek said. “Really solid moves. She’s all-everything.”
According to Dynek, some of the underclassmen making an impact include sophomore Jayna Park and freshmen Emma Piatigorsky, Jenna Taylor Rekoske and Caroline Smith.
Loyola has had a rough run to start the new year, losing to Fenwick, New Trier and Glenbrook. The Ramblers are 9-4-1 in league play.
On the bright side, all three of those teams are among the best in the state. New Trier earned the top seed for next month’s Amateur Hockey Association Illinois state tournament, while Fenwick is No. 2 and Glenbrook is No. 3. The 2016 state champion Ramblers received the fourth seed.
“We aren’t rebuilding, but we are young this year,” Dynek said. “We work hard and have been competitive. We are looking forward to finishing the season strong. I do think we are going to be a very tough team over the next couple of years.”