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Around The Rinks: Quick-striking Mac Swanson of Anchorage and Fargo Force roar back, clinch spot in USHL Clark Cup Finals

by | May 6, 2024 | Cover Story, Hockey

Eagle River’s Mac Swanson. Photo courtesy Fargo Force

Facing elimination for the second time in three days, Anchorage’s Mac Swanson and the Fargo Force got off to an electric start Sunday, when Swanson knifed the Sioux City Musketeers for a goal just 13 seconds into decisive Game 5 of the USHL’s Western Conference Finals.

Swanson, a left wing, added an assist on Merril Steenari’s goal less than three minutes into the game, and the Force generated a 4-0 home-ice win that propelled them into the Clark Cup Finals.

The Force, the Anderson Cup owners as regular-season champions, also staved off elimination Friday night with a 5-0 win in Game 4 at Sioux City. Swanson furnished an assist in that game. Goaltender Hampton Slukynsky racked a combined 41 saves in back-to-back bagels.

Swanson got the Force off to a strong start in Game 5 when he rifled a wrister from the inner right circle just inside the left post.

Swanson, who is bound for North Dakota next season, leads the playoffs in assists and points with 3-9—12 totals in eight games. He has scored at least a point in seven of eight games and has racked four multiple-point games.

Fargo entertains the Dubuque Fighting Saints in Game 1 of the best-of-5 Finals on Friday night.

Swanson is three wins away from duplicating his dad’s Clark Cup victory 30 years ago. Brian Swanson, the former NHLer and All-American center at Colorado College won the Cup with the Omaha Lancers in 1994. (That Lancers team was stacked with Alaskans – Swanson was joined by Eric Runyan and Chris Marvel, who like Swanson grew up in Eagle River, and Anchorage skaters Sean Bowman, Justin Lyle, Nathan Rocheleau, Ken Hemenway and Tom Kowal).

Sioux City forward Colin Kessler of Anchorage, who is committed to Vermont, finished these playoffs with 3-2—5 totals in eight games.

Mac Swanson in 17 playoff games the last two seasons has produced 6-16—22 totals. In 129 career USHL regular-season and playoff games, he owns 44-110—154 totals and a plus-70 rating.

Swanson is eligible for this summer’s NHL draft.

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