2022-23 USHL Power Rankings

Fargo Force Still No. 1 And On Verge Of Claiming Anderson Cu...

Find out which of the league's 16 teams rise and fall over the course of the long regular season.

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: 38-14-4-4

With a magic number of one for a share, and two to win it outright, the Fargo Force will look to clinch the Anderson Cup this weekend, given to the USHL regular-season champion.

Nick Oliver’s club picked a lousy time to stumble, going 2-6-2-0 over its last 10 games, dropping both home games to a red-hot Lincoln squad last weekend.

After an incredible start to the year, Force netminder Matej Marinov has dropped his last six contests.

2. Chicago Steel / Last Ranking: 2

Record: 38-17-4-1

After splitting a pair of games with Dubuque last weekend and earning a first-round bye in the playoffs, the Steel are on the verge of locking up the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.

The Steel have been in first place for most of the season, despite having Youngstown and the USA Hockey NTDP breathing down their necks.

Chicago will be without Macklin Celebrini for the final two games of the regular season. He is with Team Canada at the U18 Worlds, but he should return for the Steel’s second-round matchup.

3. Waterloo Black Hawks / Last Ranking: 5

Record: 39-20-1-0

The Black Hawks have been one of the league’s hottest teams in the second half of the season, and they continue to score timely goals.

Waterloo is 8-1 in overtime this season, has won four straight and has gone 7-3-0-0 over its last 10 games.

The Black Hawks have been receiving contributions from all over the roster and have four players with 45 or more points, including Garrett Schifsky, who has 37 points (19 goals, 18 assists) in 37 games since the holiday break.

4. Lincoln Stars / Last Ranking: 6

Record: 37-19-3-1

The Stars couldn’t wait for the calendar to flip to March after going 5-4-2 in February and falling in the standings.

However, Lincoln has gone an incredible 12-2-0-1 since March 3, including a two-game sweep in Fargo over the weekend.

Trailing Waterloo by just one point in the standings with two games remaining, the Stars will look to grab the No. 2 spot in the Western Conference.

5. Youngstown Phantoms / Last Ranking: 3

Record: 36-19-4-1

Barring anything weird, Youngstown likely won’t catch Chicago for the top spot in the East, but the No. 2 seed and home-ice advantage still are up for grabs.

Tied with the NTDP for second place, the final two games on the schedule will provide no shortage of excitement.

William Whitelaw capped off his impressive first full campaign in the USHL. Last weekend, he set the Phantoms’ record for most goals in a season by a rookie with 35.

6. USNTDP / Last Ranking: 4

Record: 36-19-3-2

The NTDP is back in the Clark Cup Playoffs for the first time since the 2018-2019 season.

Team USA also has an opportunity to grab home ice if they can finish this weekend ahead of Youngstown in the standings.

Christian Humphreys has come on strong in the second half of the season, scoring goals in three straight games. He has 19 points (eight goals, 11 assists) in 25 games out of the holiday break.

7. Tri-City Storm / Last Ranking: 7

Record: 32-20-4-4

After a steady climb in the standings, Tri-City has dropped its last four contests and gone 5-3-1-1 over its previous 10 games.

The Storm will be a considerable threat in the Clark Cup Playoffs, possessing one of the best 1-2 combinations on offense in Jake Richard and Trevor Connelly.

Richard leads all Tri-City skaters with 60 points.

But no individual player has benefited more from playing with Richard than Connelly, who has 31 points (17 goals, 14 assists) since Tri-City acquired the former Muskegon Lumberjack in early February.

8. Green Bay Gamblers / Last Ranking: 8

Record: 31-22-3-4

The Gamblers are back in the postseason after failing to qualify last season.

Their margin for error this year has been slim, scoring 197 goals, while allowing 195. Green Bay has gone 4-3-1-2 over its last 10 games.

Green Bay sits in front of Dubuque by just one point in the standings, with only a home-and-home against Madison left on the schedule. 

If the Gamblers can hold onto the No. 4 seed, they’ll host the Fighting Saints in a best-of-three series at the Resch Center.

9. Dubuque Fighting Saints / Last Ranking: 10

Record: 31-23-5-1

At times, the Fighting Saints have proven they can hang with anyone. When they’re on, they’re on, as seen in last Friday’s 6-2 defeat of the Steel.

Inconsistency probably isthe best word to describe Dubuque’s season. With a -9 scoring differential, there has been little room for error.

The Saints have gone 5-5-0-0 over their last 10 games, but they are one of the peskiest teams in the Eastern Conference. I would not be at all surprised to see them in the conference finals.

10. Cedar Rapids RoughRiders / Last Ranking: 9

Record: 28-22-4-5

The Riders grabbed the sixth, and final, spot in the East. 

Like Dubuque, they’ve proven they can hang with anyone, observed in their dominating win over Chicago out of the holiday break and recently in a convincing win over Youngstown.

Netminder Bruno Bruveris is starting to get hot again, winning three of his last four starts, which is critical for Cedar Rapids going into the postseason.

Ryan Walsh has been one of the best surprises this season, breaking the franchise record for most points (77) in a single season. Do they have enough firepower, though? That is the question.

11. Sioux City Musketeers / Last Ranking: 11

Record: 28-27-2-3

The Musketeers are 6-4-0-0 over their last 10 games and will have the No. 5 seed in the West, meaning a first-round best-of-three series in Tri-City.

Sioux City has been terrific on special teams this year, featuring the second-best power play (24.5%) and penalty kill (81.4%). Still, they have the second-fewest goals (39) on the man advantage, meaning they aren’t getting that many opportunities.

Their 1-2 combination in net of Axel Mangbo and Croix Kochendorfer will be key for a team with 192 goals scored and 192 goals allowed during the regular season.

12. Des Moines Buccaneers / Last Ranking: 14

Record: 24-28-5-3

The Bucs are fighting for the final playoff spot in the West, and they’ll finish the regular season with a home-and-home against Cedar Rapids this weekend.

Des Moines is riding a four-game winning streak and has gone 5-5-0-0 over its last 10 games, but the Buccaneers have struggled to find offense all season, sitting with a -27 goal differential and the second-fewest goals scored (164) in the West.

13. Sioux Falls Stampede / Last Ranking: 12

Record: 23-29-5-3

The Herd will need a lot of help from either the Bucs dropping both games this weekend or winning both games left on their own schedule.

That could be challenging, as Sioux Falls wraps up its regular season with a home-and-home against the No. 1 seed, the Fargo Force.

14. Muskegon Lumberjacks / Last Ranking: 13

Record: 26-31-3-0

Muskegon is out of the playoff race, dropping its last three games and four of the last 10.

Ethan Whitcomb has had a solid finish to the year, collecting points in nine of his last 10 games.

15. Omaha Lancers / Last Ranking: 15

Record: 16-35-5-4

The Lancers have dropped their last six and eight of their last 10 games.

There’s a lot of work to be done in Omaha over the offseason.

16. Madison Capitols / Last Ranking: 16

Record: 16-39-2-2

Madison saw its three-game winning streak end on Tuesday with a 3-0 loss to Cedar Rapids.

The Caps will be focused on sorting out their front office and drafting well to re-tool their roster for next season.