Anchorage’s Mac Swanson flourished from the time he stepped into the U.S. Hockey League as a 16-year-old in the fall of 2022 – he averaged nearly a point per game that season and was voted to the All-Rookie Team.
He took things to a different, transcendent level Friday night.
The Fargo Force forward and potential NHL draft pick erupted for seven points – his first league hat trick and four assists – to match teammate Michael La Starza (3-4—7 totals too) and deliver the most single-game points in the league in nearly four years. The Force also set a franchise record for goals in a game.
Swanson’s outburst gives him 11 points (3-8—11) in the last three games and included his 100th career point on the country’s top junior circuit. He owns 16-33—49 totals and a plus-28 rating in 35 games this season. The North Dakota commit is tied for third in the league in assists and game-winning goals (5), ranks fourth in points and fifth in plus-minus. Plus, he’s generated 14 multiple-point games this season.
For his USHL regular-season career, Swanson in 92 games has produced 28-76—104 totals and an eye-popping plus-55 rating.
Swanson, 18, could be a late-round draft pick this summer. Likely the only substantive thing that could work against him is size – NHL Central Scouting lists him at 5-foot-7.5 inches, 167 pounds.
Swanson honed his game in Alaska from the time he was knee high. He spent countless hours hanging out at Sullivan Arena with the Alaska Aces and playing knee hockey against them in the hallways as a 4-, 5- and 6-year-old while his dad, former NHL center Brian Swanson, finished his pro career with two seasons in the ECHL.
𝗨𝗦𝗛𝗟 𝗙𝗢𝗥𝗪𝗔𝗥𝗗 𝗢𝗧𝗪🦢
— Fargo Force (@FargoForce) February 12, 2024
Swanson wasn’t the only Alaskan to furnish a big game in the USHL last week.
Forward Colin Kessler of Anchorage, a Vermont commit, last Thursday bagged his first two-goal game in two seasons on the circuit to spark the Sioux City Musketeers to an 8-2 win at Omaha.
Kessler, who owns 11-11—22 totals and a plus-11 rating in 40 games this season, has scored six goals in his last 11 games. He also hit the 100-game mark in his USHL career.
Here’s a tour of other Alaskans who hit the scoresheet in various leagues and at various levels in the last week, starting with ECHL play:
- Kansas City Mavericks center Nolan Walker of Anchorage continued his breakout season with a goal in Friday’s 7-1 win at Rapid City (S.D.) and then furnished both the game-winning, power-play strike and power-play insurance goal in Saturday’s 4-2 win over the Rush. Walker, a second-year pro, has six two-goal games this season and 23-23—46 totals, and a plus-20 rating, in 44 games.
- Tulsa Oilers forward Alec Butcher of Anchorage scored two power-play goals and added an assist, and was named first star, in Saturday’s 6-1 win at Allen. That marked his third two-goal game this season and his ninth such career game in the ECHL. He’s 16-10—26 in 45 combined games for Tulsa and Reading.In men’s NCAA Division I action:
- Junior forward Sullivan Mack of Anchorage racked consecutive two-point games in No. 3 Cornell’s weekend road sweep in the ECAC. Mack contributed two assists in Friday’s 4-1 win at Rensselaer and followed it with one goal and one helper in Saturday’s 6-1 dismantling of Union. Mack has provided 2-4—6 totals in his three-game point streak, and four multiple-point games this season. He’s 3-7—10 and plus-7 in 17 games.
- Notre Dame junior center Hunter Strand scored one goal and set up another in a 4-2 loss at No. 4 Wisconsin on Friday. He owns 4-12—16 totals in 30 games.
- Graduate forward Josh Boyer of Wasilla scored a goal Friday for St. Lawrence in a 3-1 win over Quinnipiac to give him 2-2—4 totals in 26 games.
- Graduate defenseman Cam McDonald of Eagle River furnished No. 10 Providence a primary assist in Saturday’s 4-3 overtime win at No. 7 Maine to give him 1-6—7 totals and a plus-7 rating in 22 games.
- Graduate forward Caleb Moretz of Fairbanks had an assist for No. 20 RIT in a 7-6 OT win at Mercyhurst. He’s 1-4—5 and plus-4 in 29 games.
- UAA freshman forward Aiden Westin of Anchorage pocketed a three-point weekend with an assist in Saturday’s 2-1 loss to Long Island and a goal and a helper in Sunday’s 3-1 win over the Sharks.
In women’s NCAA Division I:
- Long Island senior forward Mikayla Lantto of Wasilla earned two primary assists in last Tuesday’s 3-1 win at Sacred Heart and followed it with a goal and a primary assist in Friday’s 3-0 win over visiting Post. She owns nine multiple-point games this season and leads the Sharks in goals, points and plus-minus rating with 18-10—28 totals and a plus-17 in 32 games. Junior forward Journey Miller of Soldotna (1-8—9 and plus-3 in 32 games) had an assist against Sacred Heart.
- Brown senior forward Anna Shelden of Kenai had a primary assist in Saturday’s 3-3 tie at Dartmouth to give her 2-3—5 totals in 27 games.
In women’s NCAA Division III:
- Wisconsin-Superior junior forward Kaylin Garner of Anchorage scored the game-tying goal with less than three minutes left in regulation and the game-winning goal 35 seconds into OT Saturday in a 3-2 home win over Wisconsin-Stevens Point. She snapped a 12-game goal drought and is 6-5—11 in 23 games.
- Junior forward Briana Paxson of Eagle River delivered the OT dagger with 22 seconds left Friday in a 2-1 win at Anna Maria, then furnished two primary assists in Saturday’s 5-2 win to sweep the home-and-home series. She’s 6-5—11 and plus-7 in 22 games to lead her team in points and plus-minus. She’s tied for first in assists and is third in goals.
- Nazareth freshman forward Alexis Kindred of Anchorage had a goal in Saturday’s 4-0 win at Lebanon Valley to push her season totals to 6-8—14 and plus-16 in 23 games.
- And Wilkes junior forward Bella Kaczorowski of Anchorage had a power-play goal in Saturday’s 5-0 home win over Neumann to give her 3-7—10 totals in 23 games.
And, lastly, in men’s NCAA Division III:
- Wisconsin-Stout sophomore forward Maksis Brimanis of Anchorage scored one goal and assisted on another in Friday’s 2-1 win over No. 15 Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He’s 7-7—14 and a team-leading plus-9 in 22 games.
- Wilkes freshman forward Teague Porter of Anchorage had an assist in Saturday’s 3-2 loss at Stevenson. His 3-4—7 and +6 in 11 games, with all his points coming in the last eight games.
- Freshman defenseman Chase Conlon of Anchorage got off the Cy Young watch with his first career assist, a primary helper, in Salem State’s 5-2 loss at UMass-Dartmouth. He’s 4-1—5 in 23 games.