The National Lacrosse League’s regular season schedule now enters the second half after hitting the midway point in Week 9. IL Indoor’s Bob Chavez has released his updated NLL Rookie Report highlighting the play of steady first-year pros and the emergence of newcomers such as Minnesota Swarm’s Shane MacDonald and Buffalo Bandits’ Davide DiRuscio.
“What do you say about a rookie who steps into a lineup of veteran and performs like one week in and week out?” Chavez writes. “You keep him at the top of the Rookie Report, that’s what. So that’s what we’re doing with Edmonton’s Ben McIntosh, who put up 4 points for the Rush in their home loss to Toronto. The young man out of Coquitlam continues to be as impressive as ever, ranking third in team scoring and even though the Rush took an L in Week 9 of National Lacrosse League action, we believe he’s best of the freshmen so far this season. Let’s take a look at the rest.”
1) Ben McIntosh (Edmonton Rush): The right-handed forward out of Coquitlam had 2 goals and 2 assists in Friday’s home overtime loss to Toronto. He also had 3 loose balls and forced a turnover while looking as relaxed as ever. He’s playing with the poise of a veteran and is contributing in all sets, whether it’s even strength or extra man. With 33 points (16-17), he keeps his lead as the top rookie scorer so far this season.
2) Miles Thompson (Minnesota Swarm): When the right-handed forward out of Onondaga Nation ties his career best with 6 point on 1 goal and 5 assists, and that’s still not enough for the Swarm to win, then you know offense wasn’t the problem in Saturday’s road loss to Vancouver. The Swarm gave up 21 goals in the loss, and Thompson had 4 of his 6 points before the first half. Minny couldn’t keep pace in the second half and went on to lose its third straight and for the fourth time in 5 games. Thompson’s right on the heels of McIntosh in the scoring race with 30 points (13-17).
8) Shane MacDonald (Minnesota Swarm): The left-hander out of Elora, Ont., has played sparingly this season, but he had the biggest game of his career on Saturday. He had 3 goals and 1 assist while scooping a pair of loose balls in Saturday’s road loss to Vancouver.
9) Mike Burke (Colorado Mammoth): A week after scoring 3 points (1-2) in his NLL debut, the right-handed forward out of Wasaga Beach, Ontario, was without a goal on 4 shots in Saturday’s road loss to Buffalo.
10) Davide DiRuscio (Buffalo Bandits): The Big Fish had all of 15 minutes of experience in the NLL before getting the starting nod for Saturday’s game because of an injury to Anthony Cosmo. DiRuscio gave up 3 goals in each of the first 2 quarters before surrendering 5 in the third, but he was money in the fourth when the Bandits needed it the most. He made 12 of his 36 saves, keeping the Mammoth off the scoreboard to help Buffalo to a 14-11 win over the visiting Mammoth. He’s not very likely to unseat Cosmo as the starter, but the Bandits have got to like the feeling of knowing they have a keeper they can count on should anything happen to Cosmo down the road.
The rest of the rooks: Buffalo T Brandon Goodwin was not in Buffalo’s lineup for the first time this season … New England F Mark Cockerton, who has scored at least 1 goal in all 3 games he’s played this season…