Keep track of the top first-year performers in the National Lacrosse League with the NLL Rookie Report for Week 7 by Bob Chavez for IL Indoor. Edmonton Rush phenom Ben McIntosh, the first overall pick of the 2014 NLL Draft and NLL Rookie of the Month for January, continues to lead the way among this season’s crop of up-and-coming stars.
“It’s been feast or famine, it seems, when it comes to tracking rookies this season in the National Lacrosse League,” Chavez writes. “From weekends with full schedules to weekends with just 1 or 2 games, we’ve run the gamut. Week 7 was one of those full weekends, with 7 games, and the rooks at the top of our list had a ton of opportunities to show their wares with many involved in doubleheaders. It also gave one rookie in particular a chance to move up in the rankings, and he did just that for a team that’s making itself known, again, in the West Division. Let’s see what that rookie, and his classmates, are up to after 7 weekends of NLL action.”
1) Ben McIntosh (Edmonton Rush): The right-handed forward out of Port Coquitlam had 1 goal and 3 assists in Friday’s road win over Colorado with 1 goal and 1 assist coming in the fourth quarter to help Edmonton pull away from an 8-6 lead. In Sunday’s home win over Colorado, McIntosh had 2 goals and 2 assists along with 4 loose balls to give him 29 points (14-15) overall, and the lead in the rookie scoring race. But more important than that, he’s been a key contributor for a team that’s won 4 straight and established itself as the top team in the West Division. After so many weeks in the No. 2 spot, it’s become impossible to keep him out of the top spot for NLL rookies as even coach/GM Derek Keenan has said in recent weeks that McIntosh has “more game” than anyone thought he’d have at this point of his NLL career.
2) Miles Thompson (Minnesota Swarm): The right-handed forward out of Onondaga Nation had, very simply, a bad weekend when it came to points. He was without a goal on 9 shots in Friday’s home loss to Toronto, then had 1 goal on 12 shots in Saturday’s road loss to the Rock. Overall, he had 4 points in 2 games to raise his season total to 24 points (12-12) and was whistled for a 5-minute high-sticking major in Friday’s loss.
8) Joel Matthews (Rochester Knighthawks): The left-handed transition man out of St. Catharines was back in Rochester’s lineup after a week off and while he had just 1 LB on the stat sheet, the work he does away from the ball and in the dirty areas continues to be invaluable. Rochester is 3-0 with Matthews in the lineup.
9) Conrad Chapman (Vancouver Stealth): The left-handed transition man out of Prince George, B.C., played in his first game since Jan. 31 and had 2 loose balls in Saturday’s home win over Calgary. At 6-foot-6, 230-pounds, he brings obvious size to Vancouver’s back end and the Stealth have won their last 2 games when he’s played.
10) Mark Cockerton (New England Black Wolves): The left-handed forward out of Oshawa played in his second straight straight game and scored 1 goal while scooping 1 loose ball. Not eye-popping stats, but he’s holding his own and getting the experience he needs to contribute from a valuable position – the left side – in the NLL.