FALMOUTH – Of course, Isac Nordstrom had preconceived images of the United States before he got here. But in no time, he noticed that not all Americans are big and talk like Texans.

As for hockey, nothing could prepare Nordstrom for the different style from his native Sweden, with its Olympic-sized rinks and emphasis on speed and passing.

“You have smaller rinks. More start and stop hockey. Not as much passing,” Nordstrom said. “Here, dump and chase. Shoot it from anywhere. Crash the net more.

“It was way more physical than I was used to. It took a while to get used to.”

You could say that he has adjusted.

Nordstrom is in his fourth year in the U.S., and in his senior season at Falmouth High. He has helped the Yachtsmen to two Class A state championships and is one of the reasons they are favored for a third.

Nordstrom, a 6-foot-2, 185-pound forward, is one of two returning players from last year’s Maine Sunday Telegram All-State team (St. Dom’s forward Brad Berube is the other). Nordstrom finished last season with 21 goals and 33 assists.

In last year’s state title game, Nordstrom scored the first goal in Falmouth’s 3-2 win over St. Dom’s.

And in the Yachtsmen’s opener last Saturday, Nordstrom showed he still likes a passing game, recording four assists (and two goals) in Falmouth’s 9-0 win over Yarmouth.

Nordstrom is hardly a one-man team.

“Nordstrom is an offensive presence,” said Yarmouth Coach David St. Pierre, “but they have scoring threats up and down their lineup.”

Nordstrom has always been a target for opposing defenses. Early in his high school career, defenders likely could not match skills with him, but they could knock him off the puck.

“You don’t have as much time (with the puck in Sweden),” Nordstrom said.

Welcome to American hockey.

“His skills were obviously above average,” said Falmouth Coach Deron Barton. “He was struggling, getting used to being hit and being physical himself.”

And that was just the struggle on the ice. Off the ice, he was adjusting to a new country and a new language.

“I spoke a little English, but I couldn’t keep a conversation going without pointing,” Nordstrom said.

The Nordstrom family moved to Maine from Sundsvall, Sweden, in 2011 when Isac’s father, Patrik, was transferred by his employer, Imerys, an international firm based in France.

Patrik choose to live in Falmouth because he liked the school system. He admits he also scouted the hockey team. He was his son’s coach in Sweden.

Isac Nordstrom praised the Falmouth faculty for helping him adjust to a new language in the classroom. He didn’t know what to expect in the U.S. – other than his preconceptions and what he saw on reality TV – and said he was pleasantly surprised.

“I really liked how nice everyone was,” he said. “I felt really welcomed even though I didn’t know anyone.”

Of course, the “welcome” he got on the ice usually consisted of a slam into the boards. But eventually, as Nordstrom grew, got into prime shape and learned the U.S. style, he hit back.

“Toward the second half of last season, everything connected,” Barton said. “He just exploded. He’s able to take the hits now and not lose control of the puck.

“He goes into the traffic, takes the hit and keeps going.”

Then he’ll score – or pass. Despite the skills, Nordstrom is no puck hog.

“That’s never been an issue,” Barton said. “His personality is very unselfish. In an exhibition (last Friday), he clearly had a breakaway, but he passed it.”

Nordstrom, by the way, is this talented team’s captain. He could have gone to prep school this year, but wanted to come back to Falmouth. He will likely play preps next year as a post-graduate, on the way to his dream of playing college hockey.

But that’s all after high school. This year still holds its own challenges, like leading a team and vying for a third state championship.