Anthony Del Gaizo

Muskegon Lumberjacks (C)

35 GP: 27 goals, 15 assists

8. Muskegon Lumberjacks

18-15-1-1, Last Poll: 10

 

After being one of the hottest teams in the USHL at one point, including breaking the club record for consecutive wins with seven on Jan. 5, Muskegon has cooled down a bit but has solidified their position in the Eastern Conference. The Lumberjacks sit in third place in the East heading into February and look primed to keep climbing. The main reason for that optimism is captain Anthony Del Gaizo, who led all USHL players in scoring in January, with an astounding 21 points (14G, 7A) through 10 games. Those 14 goals in that span also led the league. The UMass commit is currently tied for the USHL scoring lead, as he has recorded 42 points (27G, 15A) through 35 games. Mikael Hakkarainen was not far behind Del Gaizo last month, as he was second among all USHL players with 18 points (5G, 13A) in nine games. The Providence commit enters February on an eight-game point streak that includes seven multi-point efforts and three straight three-point contests from Jan. 12 through Jan. 15. He sits third on the team in scoring behind Matej Pekar, who continues to lead all rookies in scoring with 34 points (7G, 27A) through 35 games. Muskegon might end up being one of the most dangerous teams in the league if their offensive continues to produce like they have been lately.  

 

 

T6. Sioux Falls Stampede

19-11-4-2, Last Poll: 3

 

Another team that might be considered “under the radar”, Sioux Falls is tied for the third-highest point total in the league with 44, is 7-3-0-0 in their last 10 games and comes into February on a three-game winning streak. Their last two victories were especially impressive, as the Stampede picked up wins over Sioux City and Waterloo, one of the hottest teams in the league and one of the top teams in the league, respectively. Even more impressive, the Herd are as good as they’ve been with just one player in the top-20 in USHL scoring. That player is Nolan Walker, who currently sits with 30 points (12G, 18A) through 31 games. He recently had a nine-game point streak snapped, during which time the St. Cloud State commit recorded 11 PTS (2G, 9A) in those contests. He also has been remarkably consistent, as he has earned at least one point in 16 of his last 19 games dating back to Nov. 11. Winnipeg Jets prospect Mikhail Berdin has continued his solid play between the pipes, having won four of his last five starts, the only defeat coming at the hands of Team USA. The Russian netminder sits fourth in the USHL in SV% (.924) and is just outside the top-10 in GAA (2.68). The Stampede will open February with five straight homes games before a three-game road trip through Sioux City and Dubuque.