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April USHL Power Rankings

04/06/2018, 9:30am CDT

The Waterloo Black Hawks top the final edition of the 2018 USHL Power Rankings.

The end of the USHL regular season is near, and there are still several questions that need to be answered in the final two weeks of the 2017-18 campaign.


There are currently battles for home-ice advantage in the First Round of the Clark Cup Playoffs, as third through sixth place in the Eastern Conference are only separated by five points. As of April 6, Muskegon and Green Bay currently have the inside track of playing at home in the First Round, but don't count out Dubuque and Chicago, who are capable of gaining ground in the last two weeks and earning the opportunity to host a First Round series. Over in the Western Conference, Fargo and Sioux Falls look primed to host in the First Round and have a chance to clinch that opportunity with a weekend to spare.


Things look demonstrably different in the top half of each conference. In the East, Team USA has already clinched home-ice advantage through the Eastern Conference Final, while the Youngstown Phantoms are close to clinching a first-round bye and having home-ice advantage in their Eastern Conference Semifinal series. The Western Conference is a bit more clustered, as the top four teams (Waterloo, Omaha, Fargo, Sioux Falls) are all separated by just four points. It will be a fight to the finish to determine seeding and first-round byes in the Western Conference.


In addition to the conference playoff pictures needing to be determined, it looks like the race for the Anderson Cup will also come down to the wire. Team USA had held a comfortable lead atop the USHL standings for awhile and looked for a time like they were going to run away with the Anderson Cup. However, as it stands on April 6, Team USA, Waterloo, Omaha, Sioux Falls and Fargo are all separated by just four points at the top of the league standings. Each of these five teams can make a case that they will be crowned Anderson Cup champions at season's end, making the final two weeks of the regular season that much more exciting.


The Waterloo Black Hawks top the final power rankings of 2018, up two spots from March. Waterloo is unbeaten in regulation in 12 games heading into April, having won eight of those contests to climb atop the Western Conference. The Lincoln Stars have also made a significant jump, up four spots to #7 as they are 8-2-0-0 in their last 10 games. They have consistently been the hottest team in the league through the second half of the season, leading them to a playoff spot for the first time since 2015-16. Their biggest rival, the Omaha Lancers, despite having dropped in the rankings, have come back strong after a bit of a lull, winning each of their last four games and moving within one point of Waterloo for the top spot in the Western Conference and within two points of Team USA for the top spot in the USHL standings. 


The Youngstown Phantoms made the biggest jump in the Eastern Conference, up to #6 from #9 thanks to their nice run as of late. Youngstown is unbeaten in regulation in 11 games and has won nine of those contests, helping them get close to securing home ice in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. It will be very interesting to see how the final two weeks of the 2017-18 season shakes out.


The USHL Power Rankings are compiled at the beginning of each month of the regular season. A panel of media members from around the league ranked the teams from 1st to 17th, and the votes were compiled into an overall ranking. Power Rankings are decided on a monthly basis and will run until the Clark Cup Playoffs. Listed below are the teams, their record and number of first place votes earned. The previous rankings listed are from the March USHL Power Rankings.

1. Waterloo Black Hawks (9)
34-14-6-2, Last poll: 3

2. Team USA (9)
38-17-0-1, Last poll: 2

3. Fargo Force (2)
33-16-3-4, Last poll: 5

4. Omaha Lancers
35-16-2-3, Last poll: 1

5. Sioux Falls Stampede
32-15-4-4, Last poll: 4

6. Youngstown Phantoms (1) 
31-18-5-2, Last poll: 9

7. Lincoln Stars
32-22-1-1, Last poll: 11

8. Muskegon Lumberjacks
30-24-1-1, Last poll: 8

9. Green Bay Gamblers 
28-22-4-1, Last poll: 10

10. Tri-City Storm 
29-23-2-2, Last poll: 7

11. Dubuque Fighting Saints 
25-21-8-2, Last poll: 6

12. Chicago Steel 
25-24-2-5, Last poll: 13

13. Sioux City Musketeers
 24-24-4-3, Last poll: 12

14. Cedar Rapids RoughRiders 
22-24-8-2, Last poll: 16

15. Madison Capitols
22-29-2-2, Last poll: 14

16. Des Moines Buccaneers 
20-29-4-3, Last poll: 15

17. Central Illinois Flying Aces 
14-37-2-3, Last poll: 17

Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 16th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2017-18. 30 or more players from the USHL have been selected in five consecutive NHL Drafts, and more than 400 players on team rosters last season committed to NCAA Division I schools, further establishing the USHL as the world’s foremost producer of junior hockey talent.

Tag(s): Player News