Fargo Force (G)
22-20-1-0, 2.27 GAA, .917 SV%
8. Fargo Force
2015-16: 29-24-2-0, Last Poll: 11
With seven wins in their last 10 games, Fargo has forced its way into the playoff picture in the Western Conference. The seven wins include victories over Lincoln, Sioux City, three over Des Moines, and two over the Omaha Lancers. With those crucial wins, the Force are now two points ahead of the Sioux Falls Stampede for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, with both teams having 25 ROW (Regulation/Overtime Wins are first tie-breaker category), and only five games remaining on their respective schedules. Denis Smirnov has a pair of two-goal games in those last 10 games, and he leads the Force in scoring with 57 points on the year. Ryan Wischow has been good all season long for Fargo in net, sporting a .917 SV% and a 2.27 GAA in 55 games. The Force finish their season with a set at Tri-City, a game at Sioux City, and a home-and-home with Sioux Falls in a pair of games that could very likely decide the final playoff team in the Western Conference.
7. Waterloo Black Hawks
2015-16: 29-22-2-3, Last Poll: 9
The Black Hawks keep climbing up the power rankings. Like Fargo, Waterloo has notched a victory in seven of its last 10 outings, and now have a five-point cushion in terms of playoff position in the Western Conference. Much of the success that Waterloo has seen has been due to the acquisition of Ryan Lohin. The former Madison captain has 16 points (9 G, 7 A) in 10 games since coming over from the Capitols on February 29 along with Sam McCormick, who has been on a tear of his own since joining the Black Hawks. The Ohio State commit has 11 points in those 10 games. Lohin and McCormick lead Waterloo in scoring with 55 and 53 points, respectively. Lohin also currently has an 11 game point streak, the longest point streak of the season for any USHL player. Waterloo will finish their season with a game at Lincoln and then three home games against Sioux City, Cedar Rapids, and Dubuque as they look to clinch a playoff position and head into the Clark Cup Playoffs on a strong note.