The road to playing with the Youngstown Phantoms began in Bethesda, Md., for Sam Anas. He played hockey at Landon Prep School and was recruited by the Phantoms through his traveling hockey team. The Phantoms drafted Anas in the second round, 22nd overall, in the United States Hockey League draft. He made the team and began his career in 2011-2012. For Anas, the chance to play in the USHL was exhilarating.
"Playing in the USHL was always a dream," Anas said. "It's such a prestigious league. It's the toughest league to play in. It's harder than playing Division I hockey because there are more Division I hockey teams than USHL teams, so this is really high caliber play. The competition level, you don't notice until you're actually playing in it. Every play, the players go all out. I think that's definitely going to help me get ready for college and hopefully one day, pros."
The play of Anas the past couple of seasons caught the attention of Quinnipiac University. Quinnipiac is currently ranked second and once held the top ranking in Division I hockey this season. Anas will be heading there in the fall.
"When I first talked to them (the coaches) I was very excited," Anas said. "Now to see that they're the number-one team in the country, I don't know how anyone could not be excited to go there next year. They got a great campus and a great coaching staff and great facilities. I'm thrilled."
Anas currently ranks sixth in the USHL in goals scored with 28. He has 20 assists and is second on the team in points with 48. He acknowledges his success to his offseason regimen.
"A lot of credit to my summer work ethic," Anas said. "A lot of it was working hard with my trainer, just working on getting stronger because that's a lot of it with me being a small guy. I strengthened my stride, becoming a better skater and it seems to have paid dividends. Everything seems to be clicking this year and going well. I'm having fun."
Things have been going well for the Phantoms this year. The team is currently 31-22 on the season. With the year coming to a close, Anas said that the team needs to be focused down the stretch and into the playoffs.
"The big thing for us is playing complete games," Anas said. "Sometimes we come out slow. It has been a common theme with us. Sometimes you get behind early, a lot of the times you're able to come back but sometimes we haven't been able to, and that's something down the stretch that we have to learn not to do and we have to come prepared to play a full 60 minutes."