Death, taxes and Sam Anas turning goalies into a still life in the shootout.
As if college hockey's No. 1-ranked Quinnipiac Bobcats are not getting on sufficiently swimmingly, one of their recruits made ESPN Sportscenter for his shootout wizardry in a USHL game. On Sunday, Anas helped the Youngstown Phantoms beat their USHL rival Muskegon Lumberjacks with some daring stickhandling. The 19-year-old right wing dropped the puck between his legs to plant some doubt in goalie Jordan Uhelski before converting with a backhand-to-forehand deke. That successful effort gave Youngstown the extra point in a 3-2 victory.
To think that two years ago, Anas and his family had little concept of junior hockey.
It ended up being eighth in Sportscenter's top 10 plays that night. It is the second time in fewer than 12 months that the Phantoms have made Sportscenter for a highlight goal, so Youngstown is expanding its repertoire of claims to sports fames beyond boxer Boom Boom Mancini and the fact Modern Family's Ed O'Neill played football for the Youngstown State Penguins.
Anas is 4-for-4 in shootouts this season. The native of Potomac, Maryland, who once led his high school team to an unbeaten season before heading to the United States league for further season, is Youngstown's second-leading scorer this season. Their top point-getter, Austin Cangelosi, also made a Sportscenter Top 10 last season for his cheeky 'chip and flip' overtime goal in a playoff game. Cangelosi was third in the top 10.
Of course, there are no shootouts in Anas' next destination. There might be no better time to say that it is a breath of fresh air that some precincts in college hockey still have tie games. It just seems like one day someone decided a tie game was worse than breaking your stick while trying to kill off a 5-on-3 power play and everyone else fell in line. Then again, without the shootout, AKA the circus, Sam Anas would not be able to dangle ever so sweetly. So it has its place, too.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet. Please address any questions, comments or concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org (video: Youngstown Phantoms).
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