2022-23 USHL Power Rankings

USHL Power Rankings: Green Bay, Cedar Rapids Pushing Up

The Green Bay Gamblers and Cedar Rapids RoughRiders were among the big movers as our USHL Power Rankings return after a few weeks off.

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. Chicago Steel / Last Ranking: 1

Record: 20-8-1-1

Just as they left 2022, the Steel open the New Year atop FloHockey’s USHL Power Rankings. It’s the fifth time Chicago has led the way this season. Chicago is 7-3-0-0 in its last 10 games and the Steel own the league’s best road winning percentage at .750 (11-3-1-1).

Four of the USHL’s top five point producers - Jack Harvey (36), Michael Emerson (36), Macklin Celebrini (36) and Nicholas Moldenhauer (35) - don the Steel crest across their chest. Harvey also leads the league in goals (23) while Emerson and Celebrini rank third and fourth with 18 and 17, respectively.

2. Fargo Force / Last Ranking: 2

Record: 19-7-0-3

Staying put at No. 2, Nick Oliver’s squad now owns the USHL’s best winning percentage at .707. Fargo is 6-4-0-0 in its last 10 and, despite dropping its last two games, the Force still sit atop the Western Conference with 41 points.

Fargo has scored the second-most goals (114) and allowed the fewest goals (70) in the USHL. Bret Link has started to heat up with nine points in his last eight games while goaltender Matej Marinov has won his last three starts and owns a league-best .928 save percentage and 1.87 goals-against average.

3. Lincoln Stars / Last Ranking: 4

Record: 18-9-1-0

Up one spot to No. 3, the Stars have shined so far in 2023. Lincoln won its first two games of the calendar year, both against conference-leading Fargo. The Stars exploded for five goals in a 5-0 win and polished off the weekend sweep with a 3-2 win earlier this month.

Lincoln is 6-3-1-0 in its last 10 and sits just four points behind Fargo. Lincoln’s penalty kill continues to lead the USHL (85.8%) and although the Stars have racked up the second-most penalty minutes in the league (557), Rocky Russo’s group has been able to overcome it.

4. Waterloo Black Hawks / Last Ranking: 3

Record: 18-11-0-0

Winners of four straight, the Black Hawks are 7-3-0-0 in their last 10. Waterloo has moved within a point of second-place Lincoln in the Western Conference and the Black Hawks are currently riding a four-game win streak.

Offense has remained the story as the Black Hawks have outscored their opponents 22-12 during their four-game heater. Waterloo has scored the fourth-most goals (108) in the league this season and their 72 goals at home are the most in the USHL. Waterloo still has the USHL’s best home record at 13-5-0-0.

5. Green Bay Gamblers / Last Ranking: 9

Record: 16-10-1-1

After picking up points in seven of their last 10 (6-3-0-1), the Gamblers are up four spots. Green Bay fell at Dubuque last time out but the Gamblers have been on a roll and have closed the gap to eight points behind Chicago.

Green Bay has been scorching hot at home too as the Gamblers are 7-3-0-0 in their last 10 and have a six-game win streak at the Resch Center. Goaltender Kristoffer Eberly also continues to lead the league with 14 wins - eight of which have come on home ice.

6. Cedar Rapids RoughRiders / Last Ranking: 12

Record: 15-10-2-1

The RoughRiders currently own the league’s longest win streak at five games. Cedar Rapids made the biggest jump of any team this week, moving six spots. Mark Carlson’s group has points in eight of their last 10 (7-2-0-1) and both of the RoughRiders’ special teams units have been good as of late.

Their power play ranks third in the USHL (26.3%) and the RoughRiders’ penalty kill is fifth at 80.4%. Cedar Rapids has also been one of the league’s best teams on home ice (10-5-0-0).

7. Sioux City Musketeers / Last Ranking: 6

Record: 13-11-2-3

Although the Musketeers might not have the win streak to their name, Sioux City still has points in six of its last 10 (4-4-0-2) and the Musketeers are fourth in the Western Conference.

Sioux City ranks near the middle of the pack in almost every category but their consistency is why the Musketeers have been able to turn this around after a slow start. 

8. USNTDP / Last Ranking: 5

Record: 14-9-1-2

It’s always a busy time of year for USA Hockey coming off the World Junior Championships. December and January are also typically busy for the USNTDP on the college circuit and that’s no different this season.

It’s been the U-17’s carrying much of the workload in recent weeks as the U-18’s last USHL action came back on Dec. 17. The U-18’s will play three USHL games throughout January and the U-17’s will stay busy before heading to the Five Nations Tournament in February. 

However, as far as the USHL standings go, the USNTDP has dropped two straight and is 3-5-1-1 in its last 10.

9. Youngstown Phantoms / Last Ranking: 11

Record: 14-10-3-1

Up two spots, the Phantoms have also won straight and continue to slowly climb the Eastern Conference standings. Youngstown’s 32 points are good for fourth place, one behind Cedar Rapids and just two back of second-place Green Bay.

The Phantoms are 7-3-0-0 in their last 10 overall and also have five straight wins at home. Youngstown’s .708 win percentage is the best in the Eastern Conference. Forward Shane Lachance is tied for fourth in the USHL with 17 goals and his nine power-play goals are tied for the league lead.

10. Tri-City Storm / Last Ranking: 10

Record: 14-12-0-2

Staying put at No. 10, the Storm have also continued their steady climb up the standings. After leading the Western Conference early, Tri-City dropped to the basement of the standings and were at the bottom of these rankings at one point.

However, the team has rebounded nicely and Anthony Noreen’s club now sits one point behind Sioux City and just six back of third-place Waterloo. Tri-City is 6-3-0-1 in its last 10 and four of its next six games are against conference rivals.

11. Muskegon Lumberjacks / Last Ranking: 7

Record: 14-13-2-0

Down four spots to No. 11, the Lumberjacks are 4-5-1-0 in their last 10. Muskegon currently sits sixth in the Eastern Conference with 30 points. But that could quickly change with the logjam that is the Eastern Conference standings.

Muskegon’s 114 goals are tied with Fargo for the second-most in the USHL and the roster has the talent to continue producing. However, Muskegon’s 553 penalty minutes are also the third-most in the USHL - only trailing Omaha and Lincoln. To add insult to injury, the Jacks’ penalty kill is the second-worst in the league (72.4%) and Muskegon has allowed 35 power-play goals, by far the most in the league. 

12. Dubuque Fighting Saints / Last Ranking: 8

Record: 13-12-1-1

Another team down four spots, it’s the second straight week the Fighting Saints have dropped in these rankings. Dubuque occupied the sixth spot in early December. However, the Fighting Saints are 3-7-0-0 in their last 10 and despite winning last time out, Dubuque had dropped six of its previous seven games.

13. Des Moines Buccaneers / Last Ranking: 13

Record: 12-13-3-2

The Buccaneers have won four straight at home and have points in five of their last 10 (4-5-1-0) overall. Des Moines finds itself in the same place in these rankings but the Buccaneers have dropped one spot in the standings.

The Bucs are currently sixth in the Western Conference, one point behind Tri-City. They've scored the second-fewest goals in the league (80) and have really struggled to find their footing away from Iowa’s capital city. Des Moines is 1-5-2-2 in its last 10 road games and the Buccaneers have the USHL’s worst road record at 3-9-2-2.

14. Sioux Falls Stampede / Last Ranking: 15

Record: 12-14-2-2

It might not look like an easy hill for the Stampede to climb. However, there’s still a lot of season left and Sioux Falls is very much still in the thick of the Western Conference. Despite back-to-back losses, the Stampede are 5-4-0-1 in their last 10 and had a brief four-game win streak at the end of December and into early January.

Sioux Falls currently sits seventh in the Western Conference with 28 points, just three back of fourth-place Sioux City. However, if they want to continue climbing, they’ll need to lock it down in their own end. Sioux Falls has allowed 108 goals this season, the most in the west.

15. Omaha Lancers / Last Ranking: 14

Record: 10-15-3-2

Speaking of back-to-back losses, the Lancers have dropped their last two games and seven of their last 10 (3-6-0-1). Omaha has continued to struggle over the past month, especially at home. The Lancers have a .412 home win percentage, the second-worst in the USHL.

Omaha is also 3-6-0-1 in its last 10 on home ice and the Lancers are 5-8-2-2 at Liberty First Credit Union Arena this season. The Lancers do have both of their goaltenders now as Kevin Pasche has returned from the World Juniors and for as bleak as it may look at times, the Lancers are still just four points back of a playoff spot with a long way to go.

16. Madison Capitols / Last Ranking: 16

Record: 7-20-1-1

Madison has dropped seven straight (0-6-1-0) and nine (1-8-1-0) of its last 10. The Caps' seven wins are the fewest in the league and its 16 points are nine back of the next closest team, Omaha.

The Capitols own a .276 win percentage on the season and currently sit 12 points back of seventh-place Dubuque in the Eastern Conference. Madison has allowed 135 goals on the season and both its power play (16.1%) and penalty kill (68.4%) sit at the bottom of the league.