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USHL Power Rankings: A new leader emerges from the west

The Rink Live is back with another USHL power ranking and there is a new team taking over the top spot in the league.

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Contributed / Green Bay Gamblers

CHICAGO — We are now four weeks in to the USHL season and the competition around the league is still stiff early on. However, when looking at the standings there are some teams who are really starting to separate from the pack and have done so with some statement wins and some who are still looking to get a win under their belt.

16. Sioux City Musketeers (previously 16th)

It has been a rough start for the defending Clark Cup champions, the Sioux City Musketeers who remain in last in the USHL power rankings. The team is still looking for their first win of the season with a 0-3-2 record, putting them in last place in the Western Conference. Kaden Shahan leads the team with four goals for four points. The majority of the games they've played have been close contests, taking the Fargo Force and Omaha Lancers to overtime and then falling in their other games to the Des Moines Buccaneers by one goal, the Green Bay Gamblers by two goals, and then the Chicago Steel by three goals being their largest margin. The Musketeers have the talent on their roster but need to get a win to get rolling.

15. Cedar Rapids Roughriders (previously 13th)

The Cedar Rapids Roughriders are seventh in the Eastern Conference with a 2-5 record. They had one huge win over the NTDP where the Roughriders came out on top 8-3 and then another win over the Waterloo Black Hawks. They also have had a couple rough games against top teams where they fell 4-1 to the Lincoln Stars and were shutout 8-0 by the Sioux Falls Stampede, two top teams last month. Zaccharya Wisdom leads the team with four goals and four assists for eight points.


14. Youngstown Phantoms (previously 10th)

The Youngstown Phantoms sit last in the Eastern Conference with a 1-3 record and a two game losing streak. The Phantoms have played the least games in the league with four. They've been swept in a series by the Madison Capitols and taken a single loss to the Waterloo Black Hawks, with their only win coming over the Des Moines Buccaneers in a close 2-1 contest. Matthew Perkins sits atop the teams leaderboard with one goal and five assists for six points.

After only a handful of games played early on, teams are finding their rhythm and we're ranking them in The Rink Live's USHL power rankings.

13. Waterloo Black Hawks (previously 9th)

The Waterloo Black Hawks fall to No. 13 this week. The team is on a two-game losing streak and sits seventh in the Western Conference with a 2-4 record. Aaron Pionk and Sam Rinzel have held down the blue line for the Black Hawks, Pionk with +3 plus-minus and three goals and one assist for second-most points on the team and Rinzel with a zero plus-minus and four assists. Gavyn Thoreson leads the team with five points.

12. Des Moines Buccaneers (previously 11th)

The Des Moines Buccaneers fall one spot to No. 12 in the latest power rankings. The team is sixth in the Western Conference with a 2-2-1 record. Their two wins have come from the Waterloo Black Hawks and Sioux City Musketeers. Lubomir Kupco continues to lead the team with four goals and one assist for five points.

11. Muskegon Lumberjacks (previously 12th)

The Muskegon Lumberjacks sit just below .500 on the season with a 3-4 record and are currently on a two-game losing streak. They have won against the Sioux Falls Stampede, and have also taken a series over the Cedar Rapids Roughriders. Ethan Whitcomb leads the team in goals with five, Tyler Hotson leads in assists with five, and Hotson and Jake Richard lead the Lumberjacks in points with seven. The team currently sits sixth in the Eastern Conference.


10. Dubuque Fighting Saints (previously 15th)

The Dubuque Fighting Saints jump five spots in the power rankings and are on a two-game win streak with wins over the Chicago Steel and Des Moines Buccaneers, improving their record to 3-2 for fifth place in the Eastern Conference. Ryan St. Louis leads the team in goals with four, assists with four, tied with Oliver Moberg, and points with eight. Michael Burchill is close behind in second with three goals, three assists for six points.

9. Madison Capitols (previously 14th)

The Madison Capitols started the season 0-2 with a rough showing at the Fall Classic, but have since began to come together as a team. Going from No. 14 in their last ranking up to No. 9 is the Capitols. The team has won two in a row and find themselves sitting fourth in the Eastern Conference with a 4-3 record. Miko Matikka leads the team in assists with six and points with 10, and Jack Musa follows close behind leading the Capitols in goals with five and second in points with eight.

8. Tri-City Storm (previously 2nd)

The Tri-City Storm have taken the biggest tumble in the power rankings, previously being No. 2 and now falling six spots to No. 8. This is a team that has faced a lot of adversity early on this year, having had to travel three hours a day to be able to practice. The Storm are on a three-game losing streak with their losses this season coming from a single game to the Waterloo Black Hawks, and a sweep by the Lincoln Stars. They currently sit fifth in the Western Conference. Kieran Cebrian continues to lead the team in all scoring categories with four goals, five assists and nine points.

It was a disappointing season for the Capitols, who finished at the bottom of the USHL. However, with a new coach and a strong draft class coming in, they'll try to roll the momentum into 2023-24
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7. Omaha Lancers (no change)

The Omaha Lancers remain in the seventh spot in the USHL power rankings. The team is 3-1-1-1 through their first six games, but they are a team that still shows a lot of promise and grit. Charlie Lurie and Evan Werner lead this squad, both with three goals and three assists for six points on the season.


6. NTDP (previously 4nd)

Sitting third in the Eastern Conference with a 4-2 record is the NTDP. Without a doubt this team is loaded with talented prospects, however, with the 17s and 18s each playing games in the USHL it makes it hard to truly get a grasp on where this program sits among the league.

5. Sioux Falls Stampede (previously 3rd)

The Sioux Falls Stampede remain in the top five but fall two spots from their last ranking. 3-2 on the season, they've fell to the Muskegon Lumberjacks and Fargo Force. However, they also have had a couple statement wins. One came against the Lincoln Stars on Sept. 30 where the Stampede came out on top 3-2 and they are the only team to beat the Stars yet this season. They also picked up a 4-3 win at Fargo Oct. 8, a team that has been a top team around the USHL early on. Sam Harris continues to be an offensive force, leading the team in goals with five and topping the team in points at seven.

4. Green Bay Gamblers (previously 8th)

The Green Bay Gamblers have been steadily climbing the rankings and are on a 3-0-1 streak and they jump four spots since our last rankings. They are currently sitting in second place in the Eastern Conference at nine points. Their only losses have come from the Fargo Force and Chicago Steel, and then an OT loss against the Madison Capitols. Eli Sebastian has two goals on the season so far and leads the team in assists with five and in points with seven.

3. Fargo Force (previously 5th)

The Fargo Force continue to start off strong under new head coach Nick Oliver. 4-2 on the season, with their only losses being from Chicago and Sioux Falls, both teams in the top 5. Cole Knuble continues to be a statistical leader, coming out on top in goals with four and in points with six


2. Chicago Steel (previously 1st)

The Chicago Steel have slipped into the No. 2 spot after previously being ranked No. 1. 5-3 on the season, they've played the most games of any team in the league. Their losses have come from Green Bay, Dubuque, and the USA 17s. Jayden Perron has made a huge impact early this season, leading the team in points at 13.

1. Lincoln Stars (previously 6th)

The Lincoln Stars take over the No. 1 spot in our USHL power rankings. The Stars have jumped five spots from our last ranking where they were previously No. 6. The team is currently on a three game win streak after a sweep over Tri-City and a win over Omaha. Their only loss on their 5-1 record thus far has been 3-2 to the Sioux Falls Stampede. Mason Marcellus has proven his leadership both on and off the ice, leading the Stars in assists with eight and points with 11.

Kirsten Krull covers juniors and prospects for The Rink Live. She is a 2020 St. Cloud State graduate, and has been working in the hockey world for over six years, covering many levels of the game from juniors to the NHL.
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