2023-24 USHL Power Rankings

USHL Power Rankings: Fargo Still On Top, On Pace For Win Rec...

Writer Ryan Sikes provides his view on the league every other week with our USHL Power Rankings.

Welcome to FloHockey's bi-monthly power rankings for the USHL. Find out which of the league's 16 teams rise and fall over the course of the long regular season.

1. Fargo Force / Last Ranking: 1

Record: 43-9-2-0

Despite a tough weekend against Tri-City, the Fargo Force still have the USHL single-season win record in sight.

Mac Swanson (2024) is riding a nine-game point streak, scoring five goals and eight assists. The North Dakota commit’s scoring touch has complemented his elite passing ability this season.

Hampton Slukynsky (LAK) proved he is human after all, allowing a season-high eight goals against the Storm on Friday.

The last time the Force faced some adversity, they went on to outscore their opponent 17-2 in a three-game weekend.

2. Dubuque Fighting Saints / Last Ranking: 2

Record: 34-12-3-3

Dubuque officially clinched its spot in the Clark Cup Playoffs over the weekend and will look to lock up the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.

Noah Powell recorded his second hat trick of the season on Friday, joining the league’s exclusive 30-goal club.

Moreover, Dylan Johnson is proving to be an excellent complement to Kevin Reidler (OTT) in net. He collected his first career USHL shutout and has allowed two or fewer goals in five of his seven starts.

3. Sioux City Musketeers / Last Ranking: 3

Record: 31-18-6-0

With its win on Sunday, Sioux City also punched its ticket to the postseason.

Kaden Shahan avoided serious injury in Saturday’s game, returning Sunday to score his league-leading 37th goal (tied with Madison’s Austin Burnevik).

Samuel Urban snapped a six-game skid in net and has won his last two starts. 

4. Green Bay Gamblers / Last Ranking: 4

Record: 30-15-5-2

Despite going 4-5-1-0 over its the last 10 games, Green Bay is keeping the pressure on first-place Dubuque.

The Gamblers won both games over the weekend, out-scoring Des Moines and Waterloo by a combined 9-2.

Jayson Shaugabay (TBL) has cooled off a bit since the calendar flipped to March. However, others have stepped it up for Green Bay, including forward Charlie Russell, who has six points (3-3-6) in his last five games.

5. Muskegon Lumberjacks / Last Ranking: 5

Record: 31-20-1-1

The Jacks had a tough weekend, dropping both games at home to Dubuque, and six of their last 10 overall.

Muskegon is tied with Youngstown for third place in the Eastern Conference with nine games remaining, underscoring the importance of this weekend’s two-game series against Sioux City.

Matvei Gridin (2024) still leads the league in points (69) but was quietly held off the board this past weekend. Look for him to get going again.

6. Youngstown Phantoms / Last Ranking: 6

Record: 28-17-4-4

The Youngstown Phantoms split their two-game series with the Musketeers this past weekend. 

They could be without defenseman Andrew Strathmann (CBJ) for at least a couple of games, who will be suspended for the fifth time this season.

Nathan Lewis has been everything Youngstown wanted when he was acquired over the summer. The former Madison Capitol has tallied points in all five games since making his team debut, racking up five goals and two assists.

7. Waterloo Black Hawks / Last Ranking: 7

Record: 30-21-0-1

Waterloo has had a tough time lately, dropping four of its last 10 games, including three straight.

The Black Hawks are mere percentage points ahead of Tri-City for third place in the Western Conference standings.

Gavyn Thoreson is putting together an excellent season, recording 55 points (16-39-55) in 52 games.

This weekend’s two-game series against the Storm could be telling in terms of the final regular-season standings.

8. Tri-City Storm / Last Ranking: 8

Record: 26-18-4-5

Speaking of Tri-City, the Storm took five of a possible six points against the Western Conference-leading Fargo Force this weekend.

Trevor Connelly (2024) has remained red-hot, collecting four goals and six assists during his current six-game point streak.

Cameron Korpi collected his league-leading 24th win among USHL goaltenders Sunday and has won three of his last four starts.

9. Madison Capitols / Last Ranking: 10

Record: 26-20-4-2

The Caps are back up in our ranking, having won eight of their last 10 games, including three straight, going into this weekend’s matchup against Dubuque on the road before hosting the NTDP U17s.

Austin Burnevik continues to strengthen his resume as a reentry candidate in the 2024 NHL Draft. The Capitols forward is tied for the league lead in goals (37) and has five multi-point games since the calendar flipped to March.

10. Chicago Steel / Last Ranking: 11

Record: 24-23-3-4

The Steel are hanging on for dear life to the sixth, and final, playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Chicago has won three straight, with points coming in six of its last 10 games.

Michael Hage (2024) earned his second USHL Forward of the Week honor Monday after recording eight points (4-4-8) in three games this weekend.

The University of Michigan commit has elevated his game this month, collecting seven goals and 10 assists in eight contests.

11. Sioux Falls Stampede / Last Ranking: 9

Record: 25-24-5-1

Sioux Falls is sitting comfortably in fifth place in the Western Conference standings, seven points ahead of Lincoln and five behind Tri-City.

Chase LaPinta has been an excellent addition to the club. On Sunday, he extended his point streak to 10 games. The former Dubuque forward has 10 goals and eight assists during that stretch.

12. Cedar Rapids RoughRiders / Last Ranking: 13

Record: 23-23-5-2

The Riders are right on Chicago’s tail, sitting two points back in the standings with a game in hand.

Cedar Rapids stunned the NTDP U18 squad Friday with an improbable three-goal third period and won in the shootout.

Defenseman Zack Sharp has continued to impress in the home stretch of the season, recording points in three of his last four games.

13. Lincoln Stars / Last Ranking: 12

Record: 22-26-3-2

Lincoln has to find a way to get out of this rut. The Stars have dropped six straight games and hold the sixth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference standings, just one point ahead of Des Moines.

Jared Mangan extended his point streak to three games and has points in all but three games this month. Still, Lincoln needs more from their supporting cast.

14. Des Moines Buccaneers / Last Ranking: 14

Record: 21-26-5-1

The Bucs had a chance to leapfrog the Stars this past weekend, but they scored a combined two goals against Green Bay and Madison.

Ilya Protas tallied his 12th goal of the season Friday and now has the third-most points (42) among all USHL rookies.

15. USNTDP / Last Ranking: 15

Record: 18-28-1-3

After falling in the shootout Friday, the NTDP U18s took it to Cedar Rapids on Saturday. 

Cole Eiserman (2024) scored three times on the weekend and has six goals in his last five games.

The Boston University commit needs 10 goals to break Cole Caufield’s record of 126 NTDP goals, established in 2019.

16. Omaha Lancers / Last Ranking: 16

Record: 11-38-3-0

The Lancers’ offense came to life this past weekend, scoring a combined 14 goals in their three games, which included two wins.

Since returning from Minnetonka High School, Sam Scheetz has been a difference-maker, tallying four goals and six points in his last four games.