2023-24 USHL Power Rankings

USHL Power Rankings: Record-Setting Force Top Latest Ranking...

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: 49-9-2-0

The Fargo Force enter the Clark Cup Playoffs as the undisputed team to beat in the USHL. Brett Skinner’s club toppled a number of individual and team records this season. 

Most recently, Fargo established a USHL record for most wins (49) in a single season, a mark that stood for 25 years.

The Force will have a well-deserved bye week and play the winner of the No. 4 and No. 5 seeds.

2. Dubuque Fighting Saints / Last Ranking: 2

Record: 40-12-3-5

Similarly, Dubuque has secured a first-round bye in the Clark Cup Playoffs and will play the winner of the No. 4 and No. 5 seeds in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Dubuque’s offense will be difficult to contain. The Fighting Saints have averaged 4.38 goals per game during the regular season.

Added, they have five players with at least 60 points, including forward Noah Powell, who broke the franchise record for most goals (38) in a single season. The Ohio State commit has since become the first 40-goal scorer in Dubuque history.

3. Green Bay Gamblers / Last Ranking: 4

Record: 34-18-6-2

If Green Bay can win one of its final two games, the Gamblers will secure the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference and a ticket to the conference semifinals.

The Gamblers lost two of their three games against the Phantoms over the weekend. Added, Julian Lutz (ARI) has been awfully quiet lately, going without a goal in his last five games and points in his last three.

Green Bay will look to finish the regular season on a positive note with a home-and-home series against Madison.

4. Muskegon Lumberjacks / Last Ranking: 5

Record: 36-22-1-1

Muskegon uncharacteristically dropped both games on home ice this past weekend to the NTDP U18s.

Matvei Gridin (2024) collected career point No. 100 on Friday and has points in six of his last seven games.

The Lumberjacks can lock up the No. 3 seed this weekend against Chicago and possibly overtake Green Bay for the No. 2 seed, should the Gamblers drop both games.

5. Sioux City Musketeers / Last Ranking: 3

Record: 33-21-6-0

Down two spots in our rankings, the Sioux City Musketeers were firing on all cylinders in their 5-0 win over Sioux Falls on Sunday.

Samuel Urban stopped all 21 shots on goal and picked up his first USHL shutout.

The Muskies will look to hang on to the No. 2 seed in the west but trail the Waterloo Black Hawks by one point.

6. Youngstown Phantoms / Last Ranking: 6

Record: 31-19-6-4

The Phantoms are gearing up to defend their first Clark Cup title, having collected points in their last five games and seven of their last 10.

Ryan Botterill has emerged as a legitimate re-entry candidate for the 2024 NHL Draft. The Wisconsin commit leads the team in goals (29) and points (53) and has found the scoresheet in 11 of his last 12 games.

Aiden Wright has played well in net since being acquired mid-season, but is the 18-year-old ready to shoulder the load in the postseason?

7. Waterloo Black Hawks / Last Ranking: 7

Record: 35-24-0-1

The Black Hawks have a chance to overtake the Sioux City Musketeers this weekend and earn the all-important No. 2 seed in the Western Conference.

With five players eclipsing the 40-point mark, Waterloo features a balanced offensive attack. Gavyn Thoreson has played well down the stretch, recording points in six of his last seven games.

Also, Calvin Vachon and Jack Spicer look like a formidable 1-2 punch in net; perfect for making a deep postseason run.

8. Madison Capitols / Last Ranking: 9

Record: 31-23-4-2

Barring anything unforeseen, the Madison Capitols will finish as the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference.

The Caps have won seven of their last 10 games, and after a lull, Austin Burnevik is scoring again.

Does Madison have enough firepower to make a run?

9. Tri-City Storm / Last Ranking: 8

Record: 28-21-4-7

With Anthony Noreen set to depart following the season, will the Storm elevate their game to try to win a Clark Cup before he leaves?

Tri-City has played well down the stretch, collecting points in its last four games and seven of its last 10.

Trevor Connelly (2024) continues to put up monster numbers, finishing with eight points in two games this past weekend. The Providence College commit is two points back of the USHL scoring lead.

10. Chicago Steel / Last Ranking: 11

Record: 27-26-3-4

The Chicago Steel clinched a playoff berth on Hunter Hady’s shootout winner Friday and will go into the Clark Cup Playoffs as the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference.

This weekend offers a potential first-round preview when the Steel meet up with Muskegon, a team that Chicago is 0-5 against in the regular season.

Michael Hage (2024) will have to continue his hot stretch into the postseason. The University of Michigan commit has points in 13 of his last 14 games.

11. Sioux Falls Stampede / Last Ranking: 9

Record: 27-27-5-1

Despite losing to Tri-City in regulation Saturday, Sioux Falls punched its ticket to the postseason.

The Herd are limping into the postseason, having dropped two straight and six of their last 10.

J.J. Wiebusch has 63 points in 60 games this season, but the Stampede need Chris Pelosi (BOS) to find his game again. The Boston Bruins draft pick has found the back of the net just four times since Jan. 25.

12. Lincoln Stars / Last Ranking: 13

Record: 26-29-3-2

The Stars turned it around just in time, and barring any unforeseen collapse, Lincoln should grab the sixth, and final, spot in the Western Conference.

Lincoln has three players who have eclipsed the 40-point mark. However, they need more secondary scoring if they want to make a postseason run.

13. Des Moines Buccaneers / Last Ranking: 14

Record: 24-29-5-2

Des Moines trails Lincoln by two points in the standings and will need to win both games this weekend and have the Stars drop both to secure a postseason berth.

If not, the Buccaneers have two promising rookies in Ben Kevan (2025) and Ilya Potras (2024) to hopefully build around for next season.

14. Cedar Rapids RoughRiders / Last Ranking: 12

Record: 23-30-5-2

The RoughRiders have been in freefall mode over the last month, dropping eight straight, and they will miss the (non-COVID impacted) postseason for the first time since the 2017-2018 season.

Ben Muthersbaugh is expected to return to Cedar Rapids next season after putting up 14 points in 28 games.

15. USNTDP / Last Ranking: 15

Record: 22-33-2-3

Despite being eliminated from postseason contention, the NTDP has played really well down the stretch.

Conrad Fondrk (2025) has 13 goals and 21 points in 33 USHL games, including a three-goal weekend last week for the U17s.

For the NTDP U18s, Cole Eiserman (2024) needs nine goals to surpass Cole Caufield’s NTDP scoring record of 126 career goals. He will have to do so at the 2024 IIHF Under-18 Men's World Championship later this month.

16. Omaha Lancers / Last Ranking: 16

Record: 14-43-3-0

After two down years, the Omaha Lancers will have new leadership behind the bench. Head coach David Wilkie is reportedly retiring from his role as bench boss.

Omaha will attempt to turn this thing around next season, with key players, such as Sam Scheetz, expected to return. 

The Lancers forward has 11 points in 12 games since returning from Minnetonka High School.