Ethan Roth is a soloist. As a goaltender, he is a vital cog for the St. Albans hockey team. Mentally, the junior, who doubles as a pitcher on the baseball team, thrives on bailing his teammates out with impressive individual performances.
“It’s the same, saving every shot or striking everybody out. I have an inner competitive spirit that’s always been inside of me that enjoys the element of the game where I can steal a game if I’m really on point,” Roth said. “I’ve always thought that if the other team doesn’t score, you can’t lose the game.”
With eight goals allowed in six league games, Roth leads the Mid-Atlantic Prep Hockey League in goals against average (1.36) and save percentage (.939) for goalies with at least three starts. No. 9 St. Albans (5-3) lost to Landon, 4-2, in the team’s first appearance in the Interstate Athletic Conference title game last season. The Bulldogs are hopeful for more playoff success this winter behind Roth and the defensive setup in front of him.
“We call it the swarm. It’s a pretty aggressive defensive system that’s communication oriented,” senior captain Jack Heaps said. “We don’t play ‘center goes here and wingers go here and defensemen go here.’ Everybody is ready to close down defensively depending on the situation.”
No. 5 Landon erased a 2-0 deficit for before capping a 6-3 win over St. Albans with an empty-net goal on Jan. 6. After an uncharacteristically unsound defensive performance against the defending IAC and MAPHL champions, the Bulldogs are confidently moving forward behind the peace of mind that comes with the league’s best goaltender. Last week against then-No. 10 DeMatha, Roth made 39 saves as the Bulldogs came back from a 2-0 deficit after two periods for a 4-2 win.
“It’s very comforting. We love having him back there — he’s definitely the backbone of our team,” Heaps said. “We all have so much confidence in him. We do our best on defense to get pucks out and make his job as easy as possible, but sometimes it’s definitely up to him to save the rest of us.”
Wilson senior Jonathan Costan spent his freshman year playing hockey at Cardigan Mountain, a boarding school in New Hampshire. There, the skill level was higher. Practices were held daily, and he’d be surrounded by superior players — and he wasn’t even on the varsity team.
Costan’s past three seasons with the D.C. Stars haven’t been anything like that. With limited ice time, practices and games are held weekly. And the team he plays for — a co-op program with players from four countries and 11 D.C. schools — bears little resemblance to the one in the northeast.
But while not a hockey powerhouse, the D.C. Stars are competitive in their own right — and moreso than they were a few years ago. Once a Wilson-based program, the team now has players from several D.C. public and private schools, coming from Maryland and Virginia. That conglomeration of talent has the D.C. Stars (4-2) ranked 14th in the Maryland Student Hockey League. Three of the D.C. Stars’ top goal scorers are from outside the United States, including Washington International School senior Rowan McCarthy (Canada), School Without Walls senior Kevin Polak (Czech Republic) and Russian Embassy junior Tim Cheban (Russia).
“It’s still taken seriously,” Costan said, who anchors the defense. “We’re not just here to have fun.”
After winning a first playoff game for the first time last season, Costan said the D.C. Stars are hoping to take the next step with a deep postseason run this winter.
“We’re gonna see how far we can go,” he said. “We still have the same goal, which is to get at least one game further in the playoffs than the previous year.”
Gonzaga ripped off five unanswered goals in the third period to overcome No. 4 Landon with a 7-4 victory on Friday. . . . Philip Satin has 39 points to lead Churchill, which remains perfect against public school competition. . . . Stone Bridge has outscored opponents 70-3. . . . Marriotts Ridge defeated Howard 8-0 to remain undefeated. . . . Senior goalie Drew Yost led Woodbridge over Patriot, 7-4. . . . Broadneck defeated Arundel, 7-2 and is 8-0 in the MSHL Eastern conference.
1. Gonzaga (13-4-3) Last week: 1
2. Churchill (12-1-1) LW: 2
3. Stone Bridge (7-0) LW: 3
4. Marriotts Ridge (11-0) LW: 5
5. Landon (9-1) LW: 4
6. Annapolis/Old Mill (9-0-1) LW: 7
7. McLean (7-0) LW: 9
8. St. Albans (5-3) LW: NR
9. Woodbridge (5-1) LW: NR
10. Broadneck (8-1) LW: NR
On the bubble: O’Connell (7-5-2), Patriot
Records through Tuesday.