1. Dubuque (33-6-3, 69 points, 1st in East): The Fighting Saints just keep chugging through their schedule, winning all four of their games the past two weeks. Not only are they 19-1 at home, but their 14-5-3 road record also is better than more than half of everyone else’s home records.
2. Sioux Falls (29-11-2, 60 points, 1st in West): With a 1-2-1 record since the last ratings, the Stampede have lost a bit of the cushion they’ve enjoyed on their four closest Western Conference pursuers. Sioux Falls has six games in the next 12 days, including three against Omaha and one each against Lincoln, Fargo and Green Bay.
3. Waterloo (27-15-1, 55 points, 2nd in West): The Black Hawks have the league’s most prolific offense with 194 goals in 43 games, 29 more than second place Dubuque. Five players have accounted for 109 of those as Waterloo has five of the USHL’s top eight scorers, led by Taylor Cammarata with 66 (27 goals, 39 assists).
4. Muskegon (24-14-8, 56 points, 2nd in East): The Lumberjacks have one more standings point than Waterloo but no scorers among the top 25 in the league. Muskegon goalie Kevin Lindskoug has logged more minutes (2031:54) than anyone else in the USHL but has held up very well, allowing 2.42 goals per game and a .925 saves percentage in 34 games.
5. Omaha (27-17-0, 54 points, 4th in West): The Lancers have won 10 of their past 11 games, including five in a row on the road. They need to keep that scintillating pace with six of their next seven games at home and nine consecutive against Western Conference foes, including three apiece with Sioux Falls and Sioux City, and two more against Tri-City.
6. Green Bay (25-14-3, 53 points, 3rd in East): While seven teams don’t have anyone among the top 24 scorers in the league, the Gamblers have four, led by forward Kyle Novak’s 54 points (21 goals, 33 assists). One big area where Green Bay is making hay is on the power play — the Gamblers are second in the league with a success rate of .269.
7. Fargo (25-14-5, 55 points, 2nd in West): The Force are still tied for second in the Western Conference with Waterloo but are 2-4 in their past six games. Their next three games — including one Monday night — are against the Black Hawks. Brendan Harms (48 points) and Austin Ortega (43) are two of the league’s top 12 scorers.
8. Youngstown (22-19-0, 44 points, 4th in East): The Phantoms have bounced back and are in solid shape for a playoff berth with just over two months to go in the regular season. Youngstown has 44 standings points, three more than fifth place Cedar Rapids, but the RoughRiders have played three more games than the Phantoms.
9. Lincoln (24-15-3, 51 points, 5th in West): After a rough first period against Omaha in the USHL’s first outdoor game, the Stars bounced back and sent 36 shots on goal the final two periods. Unfortunately, only one of those went in but that demonstrates Lincoln isn’t going to disappear quietly from the playoff picture.
10. Des Moines (20-22-3, 43 points, 6th in West): Five of the Bucs’ past nine games have been decided in the shootout round, and they have won three of those, including Saturday’s 3-2 decision against Sioux City. Des Moines is the league’s most penalized team with 1,187 minutes in the penalty box, but Lincoln is only 31 minutes behind and has played three fewer games.
11. Tri-City (18-21-4, 40 points, 7th in West): Forwards Trevor Moore, Tim Bonner and Michael Vecchione have anchored the Storm offense all season. Moore is 11th in the league with 44 points (17 goals, 27 assists), while Bonner and Vecchione are tied for 17th with 39 points apiece. Tri-City’s power play is fifth at .188 with 25 goals in 133 chances.
12. Cedar Rapids (17-20-7, 41 points, 5th in East): The RoughRiders picked up six standings points the past two weeks in a busy five-game stretch to keep them in the hunt for a playoff berth. Cedar Rapids has been solid killing penalties all season and currently is ranked fifth with a .829 success rate.
13. Indiana (16-26-4, 36 points, 6th in East): Indiana was the only team the past two weeks not to win at least one game, going 0-3-1 in that stretch and 1-6-1 since Jan. 18. Dalton Izyk is the only other goalie besides Muskegon’s Lindskoug to log more than 2,000 minutes, but 114 shots have gotten past him (3.42 per game).
14. Chicago (16-22-3, 35 points, 7th in East): The Steel have the same number of wins as Indiana but have played five fewer games. That gives them a better chance to crawl back into the playoff hunt and catch Youngstown if they can get on a hot streak. One area they will need to improve is the power play — they are 14th at a clip of .147.
15. Sioux City (9-22-11, 29 points, 8th in West): The Musketeers have scored five points in their past four games. They recently acquired former Dubuque goalie Connor Girard, who was 14-3-2 with the Fighting Saints before heading to the other side of Iowa. Girard is 1-0-1 in Sioux City and his season goals-against average is No. 2 in the league at 2.14 per game.
16. Team USA (10-23-4, 24 points, 8th in East): Not much has changed here since the last time we looked. Team USA played one USHL game the past two weeks, but at least it was a win. That 3-2 decision against Youngstown on Jan. 31 was Team USA’s only game until a matchup with Muskegon on Friday.