Jack Hughes

Team USA (C)

14 GP: 6 goals, 21 assists

2. Team USA (12)

22-9-0-1, Last Poll: 13

 

Without question, Team USA is playing the best hockey of any team in the league heading into February. They have won each of their last 10 games, have vaulted 11 spots in the rankings, and sit atop the Eastern Conference, just three points shy of the top spot in the USHL standings. Offense has been the story for Team USA, as they far and away lead the league with 153 goals in just 32 games, an output just shy of five goals/game. In just 14 games, Jack Hughes remains the NTDP’s scoring leader in USHL competition thanks to a month that saw him record 12 points (3G, 9A) in just five games, including a five-assist performance on Jan. 15. The uncommitted forward has scored in all but one of his USHL games this season, giving him 27 points (6G, 21A) in just 14 games. He has playing up with the U18 team, but with the help of Cole Caufield, the U17s haven’t missed a beat. Caufield, who leads the team with 18 goals in just 19 games, picked up two hat tricks in the span of four games, scoring three times on Jan. 15 before equaling the feat on Jan. 27. The University of Wisconsin commit is tied for second on Team USA in scoring with 22 points (18G, 4A) along with Joel Farabee. Hughes, Caufield, Farabee and Oliver Wahlstrom are the team’s top four scorers, and with threats like that in the lineup, Team USA could be chasing its first-ever Anderson Cup as regular season champions.

 

1. Tri-City Storm (10)

23-9-1-1, Last Poll: 2

 

Despite receiving less first place votes than Team USA, Tri-City received a higher overall vote total, vaulting them to the top spot in the power rankings for the first time this season. The Storm are atop the USHL standings heading into February, having amassed 48 points (23-9-1-1). Anthony Noreen’s team continues to impressive defensively, as they have allowed fewer than two goals/game on the season, giving up just 63 goals in only 34 games, a remarkable achievement more than midway through the year. Team defense has been the key to the team’s success all season, as they do not have a player in the top-45 in USHL scoring. The player who does lead the way offensively for the Storm is Tyler Madden with 22 points (11G, 11A) in 30 games. It was a month to remember for the Northeastern commit, as in addition to playing well for Tri-City, he scored two goals in front of the hometown crowd, including the game-winner, en route to being named Team East MVP at the 2018 USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game. The club also welcomed back Filip Larsson to the lineup this past weekend after not playing in any USHL games between Dec. 8 and Jan. 26. If the Storm can continue to play this well defensively without their star goaltender, then it’s just an added bonus that the Denver commit is back in the fold.