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USHL power rankings: Powerhouse reclaims throne atop the league

Here are where things sit among the rankings after Week 6 of the USHL season.

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Nick Moldenhauer has been one of three Chicago Steel forwards to be named USHL Players of Week this season.
Contributed/Chicago Steel

CHICAGO — Six weeks are officially behind us in the 2022-23 season, and things have really shaken up in the latest USHL power rankings as some of the mighty fall and others reclaim their throne.

16. Omaha Lancers (previously 7th)

Currently on a three-game losing streak, and the Lancers have been unimpressive as they've fallen to the bottom of this week's USHL power rankings. Their most recent losses have come against Sioux Falls, Lincoln and Des Moines. The Lancers currently are in a three-way tie for fourth place in the Western Conference with 11 points along with Sioux Falls and Des Moines. They are 4-5-2-1 on the season.

15. Sioux City Musketeers (previously 16th)

After really struggling at the beginning of the season, the Musketeers are slowly beginning to climb their way out of the trenches. To start the year, they weren't able to put themselves in the win column and were dead last not only in the Western Conference, but in the league. Now, they are tied for seventh in the conference, and are one point back of being in a tie for fourth place in the West.

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14. Youngstown Phantoms (no change)

The Phantoms find themselves last in the USHL standings with nine points and a 4-5 record. Maybe they are currently being given too much credit, but they have picked up the pace going 2-0-1 in their last three games, picking up wins over the NTDP and Muskegon and another close contest where they fell in overtime to the NTDP. More needs to be seen before they move up in the rankings, but they are on the right path.

13. Tri-City Storm (previously 8th)

The Storm have been inconsistent so far this season. Currently, they are tied for last in the Western Conference with 10 points along with Sioux City. However, despite falling in the rankings this isn't a team I would count out. They are one of the few teams so far who have handed losses to Fargo and Lincoln, but consistency will be key moving forward.

12. Madison Capitols (previously 9th)

The Capitols are another team who have taken a tumble in this weeks rankings. They currently are seventh in the Eastern Conference with a record just below .500 at 5-6. Since Oct. 28, they have gone 1-3 with their only win coming from the Chicago Steel on Nov. 5.

11. Sioux Falls Stampede (previously 5th)

The Sioux Falls Stampede have shown some weakness since being one of the hottest teams in the USHL to start the season. They most recently split the weekend with a home and home with Sioux City and then another loss to Waterloo in a four day span. The Stampede went 3-1 from Sept. 22 to Oct. 8, but since Oct. 15 the Stampede have gone 1-3-1.

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10. Muskegon Lumberjacks (previously 11th)

The Lumberjacks are tied for fourth place in the Eastern Conference with a 6-5 record, but after most recently falling to the Youngstown Phantoms at home on Nov. 5, they have a tough test ahead in Week 7 as they have a series against the Green Bay Gamblers.

9. Cedar Rapids Roughriders (previously 15th)

After being a team at the bottom of the power rankings, the Roughriders are climbing their way out and here's why. Currently, they are tied for fourth place in the Eastern Conference with Muskegon with a 5-5-2 record. They have been battle tested this season playing a more difficult schedule than other teams including a game to a hot Lincoln team, and in a conference with the NTDP and Chicago who have reigned supreme they've put up a fight. This ranking might be generous, but I wouldn't be surprised with the grit of the Roughriders.

8. Des Moines Buccaneers (previously 12th)

This is a different Buccaneers team than we saw last year, or even earlier this season for that matter. Currently the Bucs are tied for fourth in the Western Conference at 5-6-1. They've been trouble for Omaha so far this season, picked up an overtime win against Sioux Falls and came close against Lincoln by making it a one-goal game. This will be a Bucs team to keep an eye on, especially to see what they can do as they prepare to face a top Fargo team to kick off week seven.

7. Green Bay Gamblers (previously 4th)

The Gamblers slip three spots this week. Despite being third in the Eastern Conference with a 6-5-1 record, I'm not convinced. The Gamblers have picked up a number of their wins playing Cedar Rapids and Muskegon, but when facing the current top teams of Lincoln, Fargo and Chicago as of late, they have struggled.

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6. Dubuque Fighting Saints (previously 10th)

The Fighting Saints may have played the least amount of games across the USHL with nine, but they have been a competitor in the Eastern Conference, currently sitting in sixth place with a 5-3-1 record and are on a two game win streak after the sixth week of play.

5. Waterloo Black Hawks (previously 13th)

The team making the biggest splash recently is the Waterloo Black Hawks, who are third in the Western Conference and 6-5 on the season. They are on a two-game winning streak, picking up dominating wins over the Des Moines Buccaneers and Sioux Falls Stampede.

4. NTDP (previously 6th)

Sitting second in the Eastern Conference is the NTDP. They are 7-2-0-1 so far this season and sit one point back of the Chicago Steel. Without a doubt the prospects on the NTDP are full of skill and their deep lineup has the potential to wreak havoc on any team.

3. Lincoln Stars (previously 1st)

The Stars swept the weekend with wins over Omaha and Sioux City, but showed their real first sign of weakness in Week 5 as they were swept on their road trip, taking losses against Omaha and Tri-City. Despite a bad weekend, the Stars hang onto the top spot in the Western Conference with a 8-3 record.

2. Fargo Force (previously 3rd)

The Force continue to be one of the most dominant teams in the USHL at 7-3. They currently are second in the Western Conference with 15 points, only one point back of the top-ranked Lincoln Stars. They split the weekend against the Tri-City Storm, with a 5-4 loss on Nov. 3 but bounced back with a dominating 4-0 victory on Nov. 4.

1. Chicago Steel (previously 2nd)

The Steel have consistently been one of the top teams in the USHL this season, and the depth of their group has propelled them back to the top spot in this week's power ranking. In the last four weeks, the Steel have had three forwards (Perron, Moldenhauer, Celebrini) named USHL forward of the week. Despite most recently falling to the Madison Capitols, the depth of this team and what they've accomplished thus far this year has been convincing of earning them of taking back the No. 1 spot.

Related Topics: USHL
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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