Break The Chain…

Last week we took a different approach with the Power Rankings by judging teams based on if they were playoff contenders or pretenders.

We’re back to the old format and there’s been some shakeups. Nothing too major but enough to make some take notice. Or so we hope.

Here’s the list:

1. Green Bay Gamblers (33-7-2): Only one game last weekend but it was a 7-2 win over the NTDP making it four in a row for the Gamblers. Alex Broadhurst (Nebraska-Omaha/Chicago) had a goal and two assists in the game adding to what has been a solid season. He has 48 points (19 goals, 29 assists) in 37 games this year. He also has eight points in his last five games. Broadhurst is another example of the second-or third-year players first-year coach Derek Lalonde has cultivated this season to have this type of season. Last Week: No. 1

2. Dubuque Fighting Saints (27-13-3): They swept their weekend series including a 4-3 OT win over Waterloo. They’re tied with Indiana for second right now and have played one more game than Indiana. Dubuque has won five of six – including a 6-1 win over Indiana – which is enough to give them the edge for the No. 2 spot. Last Week: No. 3

3. Lincoln Stars (25-14-3): Here’s another team playing really well right now. They’ve won three of their last four. The one blemish was a 8-3 beatdown by what’s been a surging Tri-City team. Yet Lincoln rebounded by returning the favor midweek by getting a 6-3 win and it led to another Kevin Roy (Brown) scoring a hat trick and having a clinic on how to score goals and make friends. Last Week: No. 5

4. Indiana Ice (26-11-5): They’ve won three of the last four but it isn’t like this is the indomitable team we’ve seen throughout the year. They didn’t look good in a 4-3 loss against Des Moines and Muskegon stuck with them in what was a 6-5 overtime win two weeks ago. Not exactly what you want out of a club this late in the year. Last Week: No. 6

5. Omaha Lancers (26-15-3): Kind of in the same boat as Indiana. Omaha has lost three of its last four games and convincingly lost this past weekend series. Its the first time all year where the Lancers have lost a weekend series. With two-point edge over Lincoln and five-point edge over Waterloo, this isn’t the time to drop games. Lincoln does get Fargo to start the weekend before going to Sioux Falls. Last Week: No. 2

6. Waterloo Black Hawks (22-13-6): A 4-1 win over Fargo was the only bright spot in a weekend which had two losses. Still, they’re playing pretty well and they’re starting to close in on Omaha and Lincoln. Youth is no longer an issue with them. Just a matter of making a move at the right time to climb the standings. Last Week: No. 7

7. Fargo Force (22-17-4): Black and Blue has won three of its last five games and could have won four but collapsed in a 4-3 loss against Tri-City a few weeks ago. This could be a weekend which tells us everything we need to know about them. They start with Omaha at home and then go on the road and return to Waterloo. Getting four points sends a message but losing four points sends out an SOS in regards to getting a high playoff seed. It’s your move Force. Last Week: No. 8

8. Youngstown Phantoms (25-14-14): They’re getting a taste of what its like to be chased after. Chicago played them tough in a 4-2 loss but they came back to edge out the NTDP with a 5-4 win. Winning one-goal games in February goes a long way to winning them in April. Last Week: No. 4

9. Sioux City Musketeers (20-23-1): Don’t really care if this team is under .500 and the NTDP is over .500. Sioux City won two of three last weekend including a win over conference leader Omaha. They are 5-2 in February and have cut Fargo’s fourth-place lead from double digits to just seven heading into this weekend. With guns blazing, beware the Ides of March. Or Matt Skoff (Penn State). Last Week: No. 10

10. Chicago Steel (16-27-1): We’re jumping on this bandwagon and we’ve been told staying on the bandwagon would result in a playoff appearance. Before you laugh, keep this in mind. Chicago has won 7 of its last 11 games with Cedar Rapids losing six in a row meaning the gap from sixth place to seventh place is only nine points. Chicago gets Cedar Rapids again this weekend and a win would cut it to seven points with 15 games left. Funny how that works, isn’t it? Last Week: No. 13

11. NTDP (19-15-4): If we were the guys at the NTDP, we’d seriously go after Green Bay and Youngstown for treason given what they did this weekend. The NTDP lost two of three but are still in good shape to make the playoffs. Last Week: No. 9

12. Des Moines Buccaneers (17-21-4): Look at who has won four of five? It’s these guys and its making for what could be a very interesting finish for the sixth and final playoff spot versus Tri-City. They have a home and home versus Sioux City. It will literally be one team bringing a knife (OK, a sword) to a gunfight. Last Week: No. 14

13. Tri-City Storm (18-26-0): The Fighting Lappins (both are Brown commits) have won three of their last four and have certainly grabbed goals in bunches. A high-scoring offense plus Adam Wilcox (Minnesota/Tampa Bay) in net makes for a dangerous team down the stretch. Last Week: No. 12

14. Cedar Rapids RoughRiders (17-18-8): The loud sound you are hearing is the free fall from losing six games in a row coupled with Chicago getting closer. Paging Dr. Kravchenko, “You’re needed in the emergency room.” Last Week: No. 11

15. Sioux Falls Stampede (13-25-3): They’ve lost two in a row. Last Week: No. 15

16. Muskegon Lumberjacks (12-23-5): They’ve lost three in a row. Last Week: No. 16