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UND recruit leading Fargo Force in playoffs

May 14—FARGO — Mac Swanson had a brilliant regular season for the Fargo Force in the United States Hockey League.

He tallied 77 points in 55 games, tying Jackson Blake for the most by a UND recruit in the last 20 years.

He was named the USHL's Player of the Year and Forward of the Year while helping Fargo set a single-season wins record.

Swanson has been even better in the playoffs.

He has tallied 16 points in 10 playoff games, doubling all but one USHL player. The Force are one win away from their second Clark Cup in team history.

Fargo will have a chance to clinch it Friday in Dubuque. Fargo holds a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series.

Swanson also has a chance to solidify one of the best USHL postseason runs in recent years.

In the last eight years, only two players have tallied more points than Swanson in the playoffs. Joey Larson had 17 in 2021-22. Jack Badini had 17 in 2016-17.

Swanson needs one more point to match their totals.

In the last 11 years, Swanson is the seventh player to hit the 16-point mark in the USHL playoffs.

The others are NHLers Wade Allison, Alex Iafallo, Brandon Montour and Mikey Eyssimont as well as Troy Loggins and Quinn Hutson. Loggins had back-to-back 23-goal seasons at Northern Michigan and Hutson just tallied 36 points as a freshman at Boston University.

Although games can tighten up in the playoffs, Swanson has actually increased his production in the postseason.

He averaged 1.4 points per game during the regular season, 1.6 during the playoffs. During his two-year stint with Fargo, he's averaged 1.18 during the regular season and 1.37 in the playoffs.

"I think it just comes down to who you play with. . . that definitely helps," Swanson said after tallying three points in a Game 2 win. "Anybody up or down our lineup can help contribute. So, I think it's a credit to my linemates. Obviously, I've gotten some lucky bounces. But overall, I think it's just been a group effort."

Swanson will come to UND in the fall as part of a highly touted freshman class.

Other members will be potential first-round NHL Draft picks Sacha Boisvert and E.J. Emery.

The Athletic's Corey Pronman has listed Emery as a second-round pick for most of the season, but

elevated him into the first round

after his performance at the IIHF World Under-18 Tournament.

Emery played big minutes for the silver-medalist Americans during the tournament and frequently matched up against opponents' top players.

Although Emery hasn't produced a lot of offense, his size and skating ability will be intriguing for NHL teams who project what he might become after his career at UND.

The NHL Draft is scheduled for June 28-29 at The Sphere in Las Vegas.

Former UND goaltender Cam Johnson is once again catching fire in the playoffs.

Johnson, who backstopped UND to the 2016 NCAA national championship, is the two-time reigning ECHL playoff MVP. He led Florida to Kelly Cups in 2022 and 2023.

Johnson and Florida are into the ECHL semifinals after knocking out Orlando in five games.

Johnson has a .933 save percentage in the playoffs.

Former UND captain Mark Senden also has been key to Florida's playoff run. Senden has seven points in 12 playoff games.

Former UND center Jasper Weatherby and Milwaukee are into the AHL Calder Cup Playoff quarterfinals.

Milwaukee will play Grand Rapids in a best-of-five series.

Two other former UND players are still alive in the Calder Cup Playoffs, but haven't suited up yet. Forward Hunter Johannes is with Grand Rapids and goalie Aaron Dell is with Ontario (Calif.).

Roseau's Aaron Ness, who played at Minnesota, is in the quarterfinals with Hershey.