2022-23 USHL Power Rankings
USHL Power Rankings: Fargo Surges Into Top Spot
A 7-3-0-0 mark over the last 10 games helped the Fargo Force into the top spot in the rankings, previously held by a struggling Chicago Steel squad.
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: 2
Fargo owns the USHL's best winning percentage at .712 and is 7-3-0-0 over its last 10 games, sitting comfortably in first place in the Western Conference.
The Force have scored the fifth-most goals (127) and allowed the fewest goals (78) in the USHL.
Cole Knuble is starting to heat up again, tallying three goals and five points in his last four games, while goaltender Matej Marinov has yet to lose in regulation.
2. Chicago Steel / Last Ranking: 1
Chicago is just 5-5-0-0 over its last 10 games and split a two-game homestand this past weekend with Waterloo and Des Moines.
Chicago has the USHL's top 4 point producers - Jack Harvey (45), Mack Celebrini (41), Michael Emerson (40) and Nicholas Moldenhauer (38) - and leads the league in goals scored (145), but the squad also has surrendered the fourth-most goals (121).
The Steel may need to rely on a Christian Manz-Miles Roberts tandem a bit longer, with Jack Stark still on injured reserve.
3. Waterloo Black Hawks / Last Ranking: 4
Despite seeing its seven-game winning streak come to an end Saturday, Waterloo is 7-3-0-0 over its last 10 games and leapfrogged Lincoln in the Western Conference standings.
The Black Hawks own the third-most goals scored (127) in the league and recently acquired Miko Matikka, who had two points in his first two games.
The University of Denver commit should give the team a big boost down the stretch, with Matt Smaby's squad five points back of first-place Fargo.
4. Lincoln Stars / Last Ranking: 3
Down one spot from their previous ranking, the Stars were swept in a home-and-home series with Sioux City last weekend.
Lincoln is 6-4-0-0 in its last 10 games and sits one point back of Waterloo for second place and five points back of Fargo in the Western Conference.
Rocky Russo's club will visit the Black Hawks on Friday looking to overtake second place.
5. Green Bay Gamblers / Last Ranking: 5
Don't look now, but Green Bay has won seven of its last 10 games.
Mike Leone's squad is just six points behind the standings-topping Chicago Steel, with two games in hand.
Is there anyone hotter on the planet than Raimonds Vitolins? The Gamblers forward has eight goals over his last six games.
6. Youngstown Phantoms / Last Ranking: 9
After a slow start, the Phantoms are knocking on the door in the Eastern Conference.
Despite splitting their two-game homestand with Madison last weekend, Ryan Ward's squad is getting offensive contributions from all over the roster.
William Whitelaw, named USHL Forward of the Week, has seven points over his last three games going into a crucial two-game series with Chicago this weekend.
Youngstown also has reinforcements on the way, recently adding a pair of Slovaks in defenseman Pavol Funtek and winger Martin Misiak.
7. Cedar Rapids RoughRiders / Last Ranking: 6
The RoughRiders have earned points in eight of their last 10 games, which includes a five-game winning streak out of the holiday break.
However, Cedar Rapids has dropped three of its last four, including a shootout against Green Bay on Saturday.
After being sidelined for two months because of injuries, Andy Moore has picked it up offensively, accumulating six points (three goals, three assists) over his last three games.
8. USNTDP / Last Ranking: 8
The USNTDP remains in the Eastern Conference's log jam, tied with Cedar Rapids in points (37) and only three back of second-place Green Bay.
The U17 and U18 squads took both games against Muskegon last weekend, but they are just 5-5-0-0 over the last 10 games.
Teddy Stiga had a big weekend for the U17s, recording three points, including two goals.
Meanwhile, Gabe Perreault tallied his second hat trick in as many weekends for the U18 squad.
9. Dubuque Fighting Saints / Last Ranking: 12
The Fighting Saints have clawed their way out of the basement thanks to a five-game winning streak that has them in the thick of the playoff race in the East.
Dubuque is 6-4-0-0 over its last 10 games, and forward Ryan St. Louis has five goals over his last four games.
The Fighting Saints need more from their power play, a unit that is the second-worst in the East, converting at just 20.4%.
10. Sioux City Musketeers / Last Ranking: 7
The Musketeers surprisingly took both games against Lincoln last weekend and have collected points in six of their last 10 games.
Defenseman Ren Morque had a big weekend, tallying his first and second career USHL goals, with the former being the game-winner on Friday.
Croix Kochendorfer has been an excellent complement to Axel Mangbo in net, owning the third-best goals-against average (2.37) and eighth-best save percentage (.910) in the league.
11. Tri-City Storm / Last Ranking: 10
The Storm have won three straight and seven of their last 10, climbing back into the Western Conference's playoff race.
Forward Graham Gamache paces all Tri-City skaters with 30 points, and he collected five points in two games last weekend.
Anthony Noreen's squad faces a critical two-game series against Fargo in the Frosty Cup this weekend.
12. Sioux Falls Stampede / Last Ranking: 14
The Stampede are 6-4-0-0 over their last 10 games, but they have been wildly inconsistent this year.
Despite featuring the Western Conference's best power play (29.1%), Sioux Falls has the third-fewest goals scored (98) in the league.
Isaac Gordon has found his scoring touch, with six of his nine goals coming after the holiday break, but the Herd needs more scoring from beyond their big three in Samuel Harris, Nick Ring and Maddox Fleming.
13. Muskegon Lumberjacks / Last Ranking: 11
Down two spots from their previous ranking, the Lumberjacks have dropped four straight and seven of their last 10.
Owen Mehlenbacher has picked it up after a slow start, accumulating 12 points over his last eight games. Muskegon's penalty kill needs attention, allowing the most power-play goals (40) in the league.
14. Des Moines Buccaneers / Last Ranking: 13
The Buccaneers have dropped their last four games and are 2-7-1-0 over their last 10.
Matt Curley's squad has struggled to find offensive consistency, scoring the league's second-fewest goals (92).
Jak Vaarwerk is the only skater on the Des Moines roster with more than 20 points, with 17 of his 24 points coming from assists.
15. Omaha Lancers / Last Ranking: 15
Omaha has lost six straight and scored the fewest goals (78) in the league.
The Lancers are 2-6-1-1 over their last 10 games, with a two-game homestand against Sioux Falls looming.
Andon Cerbone is still fourth on the team in points (14), and he was traded to Youngstown in early December.
16. Madison Capitols / Last Ranking: 16
Since the last power rankings, the Capitols parted with two of their best players.
Madison sent forward Quinn Finley to Chicago and Miko Matikka to Waterloo in exchange for younger players and draft capital.
Corey Leivermann's squad showed remarkable resiliency against Youngstown in last Friday's 4-2 win, but the Capitols have just two wins in their last 10 contests.
A home-and-home series with Green Bay awaits this weekend.