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STEEL ATOP USA HOCKEY MAGAZINE'S OCTOBER USHL POWER RANKINGS

By USHL.com, 10/06/16, 9:00AM CDT

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Chicago off to 3-0-0-0 start

After a one-year absence, the USHL Fall Classic returned giving scouts and media the chance to evaluate each of the 17 teams in both Omaha, NE and Pittsburgh, PA. Some teams have already jumped to impressive starts both in preseason and in the first two weeks of the season. The Tri-City Storm return to action this year as defending Clark Cup champions, and already are off to a quick 2-1-0-1 start. But it’s the Des Moines Buccaneers who sit atop the Western Conference standings.

Meanwhile, the Chicago Steel remain the top team in the Eastern Conference and are the only team left undefeated in the USHL this season. Team USA got out to a quick start, but three more teams sit one point behind with 2-1-0-0 records.

As a league, the USHL is off to one of its best starts. 68 players were named to the NHL Central Scouting Preliminary List, including four A-rated prospects labeled as potential first round picks. This comes one year after the league had 30 or more NHL Draft selections in four consecutive seasons after the NHL Draft in Buffalo, NY. The league’s NCAA success continues to grow as well, with more than 285 NCAA Division I commits on opening day rosters. Last season the USHL had more than 400 NCAA commits play in the league.

The usahockeymagazine.com Power Rankings return with an eye for the possibilities in the 2016-17 USHL season. 21 media members 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 Clark Cup Playoffs. Listed below are the teams, their 2016-17 record and number of first place votes. The previous rankings listed are from the April USHL Power Rankings.

Rankings:

1. Chicago Steel (14)

3-0-0-0, Last Poll: 15

As the only remaining undefeated team in the USHL, it’s no wonder the Steel debut at number one in the USHL Power Rankings. The Steel have outscored opponents 12-4, and have dominated in the second and third periods outscoring opponents 8-1. Greg Printz leads the team in scoring with four goals including a two-goal performance on opening night. Chicago added Clark Cup champion Walker Duehr in the offseason and he’s rewarded them early with two goals. Duehr and Printz were both listed as NHL Central Scouting prospects last season, and could validate their development with breakout seasons this year. Both Tommy Nappier and Ales Stezka have been fantastic in net early in the year, going a combined 3-0-0-0 with a 1.28 GAA and .949 SV%. Even the defensemen are getting in on the scoring in Chicago as Adam Karashik scored the game-winning goal on Saturday, his first career USHL goal. Veterans Matt Kiersted and Wyatt Aamodt each have two assists from the blue line in three games.

2. Tri-City Storm (4)

3. Des Moines Buccaneers (1)

4. Sioux City Musketeers

5. Fargo Force (2)

6. Dubuque Fighting Saints 

7. Sioux City Musketeers

8. Waterloo Black Hawks

9. Muskegon Lumberjacks

10. Youngstown Phantoms

11. Team USA

12. Lincoln Stars

13. Bloomington Thunder

14. Green Bay Gamblers

15. Madison Capitols

16. Cedar Rapids RoughRiders

17. Omaha Lancers

Full story: ushl.com/news_article/show/705712