#1 Dubuque Fighting Saints (29-6-3) - The undisputed league leader continues to display a well rounded attack. With only one regulation loss thus far in 2013, the Saints are without question the team to beat. Northeastern commit Mike Szmatula leads the entire USHL in goals (27g), while the one two punch of Arthur Brey and Connor Girard is unmatched by any opponent. Dubuque travels to Indianapolis this weekend for a matchup against the Ice.
#2 Sioux Falls Stampede (28-10-1) - With only two losses in the month of January, the Stampede are steadily holding the reins in the close Western Conference race. A balanced scoring distribution may be the key to their success. Seven forwards currently sit in double digits for the goals column. Princeton commit Tony Calderone leads the team in goals (20g), while Saint Cloud commit Charlie Lindgren leads the way between the pipes (20-7-1-2). The Stampede will end their nine game road trip this weekend after they visit Lincoln and Sioux City.
#3 Fargo Force (24-11-5) - Much like their conference rival Sioux Falls, Fargo has managed to develop a balanced scoring threat throughout their forward lines. They may also be the only team similar to Dubuque that essentially has two number one goaltenders in Brenden Jensen and Cameron Johnson. The Force will begin the month of February with a two game series against Omaha at home.
#4 Waterloo Blackhawks (25-13-1) - Five Waterloo forwards can currently be found in the top ten for scoring leaders in the USHL. Minnesota Commit Taylor Cammarata holds the throne (24g - 33a - 57pts), however a few aspects are holding them back from league dominance. The Blackhawks currently place 7th in the Western Conference for goals against, and sometimes fail to compete for a full 60 minutes. If defensive play can be improved, look for this squad to be a heavy favorite in the playoff run. This weekend Waterloo plays a series against rough and tough Green Bay.
#5 Lincoln Stars (22-13-3) - The intimidation factor seems to be working for Lincoln. Even with their mass amount of PIMs (1108 PIMs) they find themselves competing for the top spot in the West. The recent acquisition of Riley Bourbonnais will help compliment their scoring power. Bemidji State Commit Michael Bitzer looks impressive between the pipes currently carrying a 2.19 GAA. The Stars will welcome Sioux Falls and Des Moines to the Icebox for their weekend home stand.
#6 Green Bay Gamblers (23-12-3) - The Gamblers are on the rise during 2013, and their offense may be the strongest in the East. Seven forwards on this squad sit in double digits for the goal column. Veteran and Western Michigan commit Kyle Novak leads the way in points (18g - 32a - 50pts). Green Bay will face their high scoring counterpart Waterloo this weekend for what should be an exciting series of hockey. Improvements on penalty minute numbers have helped this team achieve their current standing.
#7 Muskegon Lumberjacks (22-13-7) - It's been a rough 2013 so far for the Jacks, but there's still plenty of time for improvement. Swedish import Kevin Lindskoug still backbones the team while carrying a 2.37 GAA. Making some roster adjustments on offense could benefit Muskegon in a positive way. If they can produce more goals per game Dubuque may soon be threatened for the top spot out East. Two key wins are needed this weekend at home against Youngstown and Chicago.
#8 Omaha Lancers (23-17-0) - After being spanked last Saturday by Waterloo 8-1, the Lancers rebounded and pulled off a 5-3 win against Sioux Falls on Wednesday. North Dakota commit Tucker Poolman leads the entire USHL in power play goals (10ppg). Omaha will visit Fargo this weekend for two away games.
#9 Youngstown Phantoms (19-17-0) - The Phantoms are on a roll having won six of their last seven games. Earlier in the year they were having difficulty developing winning streaks, but if consistent play continues they will be in good shape. Quinnipiac commit Sam Anas overwhelmingly leads the team in goals (19g). Youngstown will embark on a road trip this weekend visiting Ann Arbor, Muskegon, and Cedar Rapids.
#10 Des Moines Buccaneers (19-20-2) - The Bucs will be looking to rebound this weekend after a 5-0 shutout loss to Lincoln last Sunday. Offensive numbers are skewed once again for this squad, while their penalty minutes continue to rise. Making a trade for a skilled forward could be the offensive spark this team needs. Fireworks are sure to happen on Saturday when Des Moines visits Lincoln at the Icebox.
#11 Indiana Ice (16-23-3) - The month of February looks promising for Indiana based on the fact that they will only play one road game. Nebraska-Omaha commit Austin Ortega still leads the squad in scoring (24g - 18a - 42pts), however they find themselves dead last in goals against (157ga). Improvements in the crease are needed in order for this team to have any sort of chance in the playoffs. USHL powerhouse Dubuque comes to town this weekend for a two game series.
#12 Tri-City Storm (17-19-4) - Last weekend the Storm pulled off an impressive shootout win against Waterloo at home, and then failed to secure a sweep against league worst Sioux City. Yale commit Tim Bonner is tied for the team lead in goals (16g), while Denver Commit Trevor Moore sits in the top ten for scoring (16g - 26a - 42pts). Tri-City will have a light weekend visiting Des Moines on Friday for their only matchup.
#13 Cedar Rapids RoughRiders (15-19-5) - Currently on a four game losing streak, CR has little room error if they want to contend for a playoff position. Picking up wins against Youngstown and struggling Chicago this weekend will be vital for the Riders confidence. Ferris State commit Gerald Mayhew leads the team statistically (10g - 20a - 30pts).
#14 Chicago Steel (14-20-3) - With a record of 6-11-1 at home, it's no surprise the Steel find themselves near the bottom of the standings. An above average 2012 has been ruined by their poor performance in January where Chicago managed to obtain just one win. The Steel will visit Cedar Rapids and Muskegon this weekend where they will look to improve upon their slow start to 2013.
#15 Sioux City Musketeers (7-22-10) - Much like the Steel, the Musketeers find themselves with only one win thus far in 2013. Playoffs are pretty much out of the question for Sioux City unless something magical happens. They will face off against Sioux Falls this weekend at home on Saturday.
#16 Team USA (9-23-4) - Stranger things have happened, but it looks like we won't be seeing USNTDP in the USHL playoffs this year either. Team USA is currently on a three game losing streak and sits in last place in the Eastern Conference Standings.