#1- Dubuque Fighting Saints (12-1-1) After taking 6 out of 8 points from Muskegon over the past 4 games, the Saints solidified their #1 spot in the rankings. With a 3 game road swing out West the Saints will continue to be tested. Mark your calendars for Friday when they visit Lincoln at the Icebox. It is important to note that Arthur Brey is red hot with a league leading 8-0-0 record and a 1.35 GAA.
#2- Waterloo Blackhawks (11-3-0) The Hawks continue to stay near the top of the standings mainly because of their offensive ability. Look out USHL, leading scorers Vince Hinostroza, Taylor Cammarata, Zach Stepan, and Justin Kloos will all be back fresh off of their gold medal efforts in Yarmouth, N.S. It also can't hurt to have their number one goaltender back in Eamon McAdam who is currently sporting a 5-0-0 record with 2 shutouts.
#3- Lincoln Stars (11-2-0) The Stars are turning heads in the West, and they show promising signs of long term success. Look for them to give the Saints a huge test on Friday in front of the home crowd. USHL veteran Will Suter currently leads the club with 7G 8A.
#4- Sioux Falls Stampede (10-4-0) Having only dropped 1 of their last 7 contests, the Stampede enter the week fresh off of a big win against Lincoln. Much like Waterloo, the Stampede can acclaim much of their success to their balanced scoring threat.
#5- Muskegon Lumberjacks (9-4-1) After being swept by the Saints over the previous weekend, the Jacks will look to bounce back this week against Indiana and Youngstown. The Jacks must build some momentum in the coming weeks to stay near the top of the standings.
#6- Chicago Steel (8-3-1) Having only defeated one opponent in the top 5, it is safe to say the Steel have yet to prove themselves as top contenders in the USHL. However, they have certainly gotten off to a solid start. Christian Heil is currently tied for 3rd in goals overall with 10.
#7- Cedar Rapids RoughRiders (6-5-2) The RoughRiders continue with their subpar season. Inconsistencies in the win column have hurt this squad, as they have yet to develop any sort of a winning streak. St. Lawrence recruit Gavin Bayreuther currently sits second in scoring for all USHL defensemen with 4G and 8A.
#8- Fargo Force (7-6-2) Bemidji recruit Brendan Harms has been racking up the apples for the force with 18A and 23P while Gabe Guertler continues to light the lamp with 12G and 17P. Complementing the two scoring threats, Dominic Toninato sits pretty with 6G and 19P. In order for the Force to move up they must improve their defensive statistics and continue to utilize their scoring punch.
#9- Green Bay Gamblers (6-8-2) Taking 4 of their last 5 games, the Gamblers have been impressive as of late. If they continue to show signs of improvement it's not a good sign for the rest of the East. It will be interesting to see how they compete against the Steel on Friday.
#10- Des Moines Buccaneers (6-8-1) Solid goaltending and defensive seem to be the immediate strengths thus far for the Bucs. They must find some offensive leadership soon to get themselves above .500. Important to note they have an upcoming tilt with Waterloo on Friday.
#11- Omaha Lancers (6-9-0) The Lancers much like the Bucs have skewed offensive numbers. Developing an offensive threat could do wonders for this club. The upcoming series with high powered Fargo will be interesting to see.
#12- Indiana Ice (5-10-1) Despite their horrendous away record, the Ice are showing signs of improvement. If they can pull off a few upsets against Muskegon this week, then the ice will be back in business. Goaltending needs to improve in order for this club to become consistent.
#13- Youngstown Phantoms (5-11-0) The Phantoms may be one of the few teams who are getting worse as the weeks pass. Currently on a 4 game losing streak, the Phantoms are in for a test against the Lumberjacks on Saturday. Having leading scorer Austin Cangelosi back in the lineup should help spark their offense.
#14- Sioux City Musketeers (3-7-3) Goaltender Joe Ballmer holds credit to all 3 wins for the Musketeers thus far this season, while the offensive has yet to live up to their potential. With only 34 goals scored, Sioux City needs to find new ways to put the puck in the net. Being on the road for the next month will give this squad an opportunity to show what they are made of.
#15- Tri City Storm (5-8-1) The Storm are another team seeking some goal scoring ability. Trevor Moore and Brian Ward currently lead the way, but aren't getting much help from their teammates. Hopefully they will be prepared when #1 Dubuque comes to town on Wednesday.
#16- USNTDP (3-8-1) The young group in Ann Arbor has yet to pick up a road win, but don't let that fool you. Team USA hasn't played any games since November the 1st. After their strong showing in the Four Nations tournament don't expect team USA to stay at the bottom of the rankings for long.