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Edmonton Rush 2014 NLL Draft Recap

September 22, 2014 - National Lacrosse League (NLL) - Edmonton Rush News Release

Edmonton, AB---The Edmonton Rush selected forward Ben McIntosh with the first overall pick in the 2014 National Lacrosse League Entry Draft held Monday in Toronto.

Touted as the most pro-ready prospect available in the draft, McIntosh size and scoring touch were two components that Rush General Manager/Head Coach Derek Keenan couldn't pass up. The Rush posted one of the best regular seasons in NLL history in 2014 with a 16-2 mark, but McIntosh has all the tools to jump right into the potent lineup.

"Ben has the skill set to be one of the great off-ball players the NLL has ever seen," said Keenan.

"He has been an accomplished scorer at every level. He's a power forward with quick and soft hands on the inside. He's an unselfish player willing to create space for his teammates."

In his senior season with Drexel University (Colonial Athletic Conference - NCAA), McIntosh collected 48 goals raising his career total to 191 with the Dragons in 90 regular season and playoff games. The native of Coquitlam, British Columbia, was previously an Honorable Mention All-American at Drexel as well as First Team All-CAA, and a CAA Commissioner's Academic Award recipient majoring in international business. McIntosh finished with 328 career points at Drexel, earning high praise from Dragons coach Brian Voelker.

"He's got great instincts and is just a really talented offensive player," touted Voelker in Drexel Magazine.

"He's one of the most complete midfielders in the country. Not only is he one of our best players, he's a leader."

In junior, McIntosh was regarded as one of the "Big Four" with the Coquitlam Adanacs, playing alongside now-Rush teammate Robert Church. Despite playing in limited action due to his college commitments, McIntosh starred for the Adanacs in 2012, scoring 27 goals and 15 assists for 42 points in only nine games, and then going on to finish second in scoring at that season's Minto Cup tournament.

After going first overall in the WLA draft to Maple Ridge, McIntosh had a breakout summer campaign in 2014, leading the Burrards in playoff scoring with 38 points including 27 goals - 14 of which came on the power play. McIntosh suited up for just 11 regular-season games for Maple Ridge but racked up 32 points.

"We like that Ben has always performed well in playoff situations," added Keenan, who was honored as both the NLL Coach and General Manager of the Year at the league awards ceremony on Sunday.

"That's important in the NLL where week to week the pressure to win is present."

The Rush entered the 2014 Entry Draft holding the seventh overall pick as well, but Keenan elected to trade down, sending that selection to the Colorado Mammoth in exchange for the No. 13 pick as well as a 2015 second-round pick. For the rest of the evening, the Rush focused on finding prospects from the burgeoning talent pool in their home province.

"Part of our mandate is to give Alberta kids a chance to make an NLL lineup. Our goal is to support the sons of Alberta families," noted Owner Bruce Urban.

With the 13th pick, the Rush opted to look at their future between the pipes by selecting goaltender Adam Shute from the WLA's Coquitlam Adanacs. After playing in the Alberta Junior League with the Okotoks Raiders, Shute moved to the B.C. senior league and showed steady improvement. This past season in Coquitlam, Shute, who also played in the NCAA for New England College, registered a 7.67 goals-against average and a .799 save-percentage.

Edmonton was awarded a compensatory pick for losing free agent Ryan Ward prior to the start of the 2014 season, and with the No. 19 pick, the Rush picked up Calgary native Tyler Melnyk. The 6-foot 195-pound forward scored a whopping 96 points in the 2013 Senior B and President's Cup playoffs, earning him a promotion to the WLA where he put up 21 goals and 13 assists for the Langley Thunder. Melnyk completed his NCAA play with Marquette University, setting single-season school records for goals (36) and assists (15) in his senior year. He is the first Marquette player to be drafted in the NLL and the first Golden Eagle named to an All-American team (Honorable Mention).

The Rush's next pick came in Round 4 and they went for size with the 35th overall selection by taking hulking defender Matt MacGrotty. The 6-foot-4, 210-pounder started all 21 games as a senior for the Bryant University Bulldogs and then moved to the indoor game with the WLA's Coquitlam Adanacs. Most notably, MacGrotty played a starring role for Team Scotland at the 2014 World Field Lacrosse Championship, earning himself a spot on the President's Team by racking up seven forced turnovers and 17 ground balls.

With their fifth-round pick, the Rush went back to the Alberta talent pool once again and used the 44th overall selection to take Calgary product Chad Mitchell. As a senior at Bellarmine University, Mitchell finished third in Knights' scoring with 18 goals and 14 assists for 32 points.

Edmonton opened the sixth and final round of the draft by taking home-town product Mitch McAvoy from Mercyhurst University with the No. 47 pick. A faceoff specialist hailing from Sherwood Park, McAvoy helped Mercyhurst with the NCAA Div. II title before returning to Edmonton and playing for the Senior B Eclipse. Before joining the Lakers, McAvoy played at the prestigious prep school Hill Academy in Toronto.

The Rush completed their draft evening by grabbing their fifth Alberta player - Sherwood Park Titans goaltender Mike DiGeralmo with the 53rd overall pick.

NOTES: LEAGUE EXPANDS PLAYOFF FORMAT

NLL Champion's Cup Finals increases to three-game series starting in 2015

The National Lacrosse League has announced the NLL Champion's Cup Finals will expand to a best-of-three game series effective for the upcoming 2015 season. The change was unanimously approved today by the NLL Board of Governors.

"Based on the success of the 2014 playoffs, this was the obvious next step for us," said NLL Commissioner George Daniel. "The 2015 playoffs promise to be our best ever."

The first two rounds of the playoffs shall remain under the same format as last year with single elimination for both first-round Division Semifinal games and a two-game series for the Division Finals. As adopted for 2014, a 10-minute tiebreaker game will be played immediately following Game 2 of the Division Finals should the series be tied 1-1.

During the 2014 NLL Champion's Cup Finals, the two-game attendance average was 12,865 while overall attendance for the entire 2014 NLL postseason averaged 10,821 fans, which marked a 62% increase from 2013.

With the expansion to a best-of-three series for the Champion's Cup Finals, the league is further following the expansion of the playoff format introduced in 2014 where the format was expanded from single elimination to the two-game series format for the Division Finals and Champion's Cup Finals.

The 2015 NLL Champion's Cup Finals best-of-three series will be played on consecutive weekends with the higher-seeded team hosting Game 1 and Game 3 (if necessary). The Champion's Cup Finals are scheduled to commence with Game 1 on the weekend of May 30, 2015.

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