Des Moines Buccaneers (RW)
34 GP: 15 goals, 11 assists
17. Central Illinois Flying Aces
12-19-1-3, Last Poll: 15
Despite coming in last place in the power rankings heading into February, there are positives to look at for Central Illinois. They ended January with wins in two of their last three games and took points in three of their last four contests, including a 2-0 shutout of the USHL-leading Tri-City Storm last Friday. Max Andreev led the way offensively for the Flying Aces in the first month of 2018, with nine points (1G, 8A) in eight games, including six assists in his last five contests. The Cornell commit remains the team leader in scoring with 25 points (5G, 20A) through 33 games. Newcomer Ryan Snowden has given the team a boost in between the pipes, posting a 2-2-0-1 record along with a solid 2.56 GAA and .906 SV% in his six appearances with the team since coming over from the Des Moines Buccaneers. Central Illinois will be busy in February, as they will play 12 games in the second month of 2018. 10 of the 12 contests will be against teams ahead of the them in the Eastern Conference standings, so Feburary will be a critical month for the Flying Aces if they want to get back into the playoff picture.
16. Lincoln Stars
15-18-0-1, Last Poll: 14
Although the Stars went through a tough January, Casey Dornbach continues to shine bright. In 11 games last month, the Harvard commit continued scoring at a point/game pace, with 11 points (5G, 6A) in those contests, including back-to-back three-point nights on Jan. 13 and Jan. 16, and leads all Lincoln players with 34 points (14G, 20A) through 33 games. January also saw several Stars get recognized on a more national level, as Paul Cotter, Philippe Lapointe, Christian Krygier, Cole Krygier and Devlin McCabe all participated in the 2018 USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game. Lapointe (0G, 2A), Cotter (1G, 0A) and Cole Krygier (0G, 1A) all picked up points for Team West in the game and made a statement in front of a building full of NHL scouts. The month ended on a high note for the team as well, as they scored seven times in a win over Sioux City, the most goals they have scored in a game all season. Lincoln will play seven of their last nine February games against teams they are chasing in the Western Conference standings, an ideal time for the Stars to get hot.
15. Des Moines Buccaneers
13-18-2-1, Last Poll: 16
Des Moines picked up some impressive victories in January, earning victories over some of the top teams in the league. The Buccaneers defeated Team USA on Jan. 5, knocked off Tri-City on Jan. 13, shut out Omaha on Jan. 19 and ended the month with a 3-0 whitewash of the Green Bay Gamblers on Jan. 27. Nicolas Werbik has recently been scoring like he did during the 2016-17 season, when he led the Youngstown Phantoms in points. In his last 10 games, the uncommitted Czech forward has recorded 10 points (6G, 4A) and leads the team offensively with 26 points (15G, 11A) through 34 games. German forward Julian Napravnik has also been playing well, with goals in two of his last three games heading into February. Jake Kucharski played well in the USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, making 13 saves, and the Providence commit is hoping his solid performance will help enable him to play well final two and a half months of the season.