The National Lacrosse League has announced Player of the Month and Rookie of the Month award winners for January of the 2015 NLL regular season.
Toronto Rock forward Josh Sanderson, who leads the league in both points (34) and assists (29), has won the NLL Player of the Month award as the Rock sit atop the East Division standings with a league-best 4-1 record.
“Being 4-1, I’m really happy with our start as a team,” Sanderson said. “Personally, I’m surrounded by good players who are putting the ball in the net. I probably need to put the ball in the net a bit more myself, but we are doing well as a team through the first month. Everyone is doing their part to contribute to our success so far.”
The Orangeville, Ont. native has recorded six or more points in four of his five games played including a 13-point (4+9) performance in Week 2, the highest single-game point total by an NLL player so far this season. Sanderson has also recovered 30 loose balls, which is tied for 12th-most in the league and third among forwards.
“I’m really happy with his numbers so far but I don’t think he’s about that,” said Rock head coach John Lovell. “He’s been an outstanding leader for this team and he’s a big part of our great start as a team. He’s made good plays and the guys around him are finishing. Josh has made a career out of being a guy that can create offense by seeing the floor and he’s had some success early in the season.”
Sanderson won the “Pinty’s Wingman of the Week” award in both Weeks 1 and 2 of the season for his performance with respect to passing prowess and playmaking abilities. The 18-year veteran ranks fourth in the league all-time in career points and third in assists.
Edmonton Rush forward Ben McIntosh, the first overall pick of the 2014 NLL Draft out of Drexel University, won NLL Rookie of the Month after leading all first-year players in goals (11), assists (10) and points (21) in January. The Coquitlam, B.C. native’s 11 goals rank tied for seventh among all players while his 21 points are tied for 17th in the NLL overall.
“It’s a huge honor,” McIntosh said. “It’s nice to have a good start like that and be able to put up the points and fit in with the team so quickly.”
McIntosh has posted at least two goals and three or more points in all four of his games played this season including an eight-point (4+4) performance in a Week 5 win to help Edmonton get back to .500 with a 2-2 record. The eight points tied a Rush franchise record for most points in a single game.
“Ben has obviously been a great addition to our team,” said Rush general manager and head coach Derek Keenan. “He’s showing a lot of poise and parts to his game that may go unnoticed by some. He’s a complete player and continues to get more comfortable with his teammates and improve every game. “
The NLL Monthly Player Awards are determined by a vote of the league’s general managers and head coaches.