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Benesch, Crawford, MacIntosh headed to All-Star Game

02/08/2012, 12:13pm CST
By mnswarm.com

Benesch, Crawford (pictured left) and MacIntosh (pictured right) are West reserves

Ryan Benesch #21

SAINT PAUL, Minn. – The National Lacrosse League today announced that Minnesota Swarm forwards Ryan Benesch and Callum Crawford, along with Swarm rookie T Jordan MacIntosh have been selected as reserves for the West in the 2012 NLL All-Star game.

Benesch and Crawford will be making their second straight appearance to the All-Star Game in 2012. MacIntosh is the first player in Swarm history to be selected to an All-Star Game as a rookie.

For the second year in a row, four Swarm players will head to the All-Star Game. Transition player Andrew Suitor, the recently appointed team captain, was named a starter for the West earlier this week.

“It’s a true testament to everything that we have tried to put together here,” Associate General Manager and Assistant Coach Joe Sullivan said. “In Suitor and MacIntosh, they are real young players in this league, yet they have already created such an impact and they are noticed throughout the league for what they do on the floor. Crawford and Benesch work so hard to distribute their leadership on and off of the floor. I was really happy to see that they got noticed. I don’t think that anybody works harder than they do.”

Benesch, 27, ranks second on the Swarm with 22 points (10g, 12a) and has scored at least three goals in every game thus far in 2012. Last season, Benesch posted a league-high 95 points (46g, 49a) and won the NLL’s scoring title. Now in his sixth year in the league, the Kitchener, Ontario native has registered a career total of 352 points (153g, 199a).

“It’s truly a great honor to represent the West Division and the Minnesota Swarm,” Benesch said. “It’s always fun to meet new players and to make new friends. With the game being aired on ESPN3, it’s going to be great for the league and for our fans.”

Crawford, 27, leads the Swarm with 23 points (7g, 16a) in 2012. The six-year veteran tallied nine points in each of the team’s first two games this season. The Ottawa, Ontario native notched 70 points (27g, 43a) in 16 games for the Swarm in 2011 and has tallied a career total of 288 points (113g, 175a).

“It’s exciting and it’s a great opportunity to play with some of the best players in the game who you don’t ever get a chance to play with outside of the All-Star Game,” Crawford said. “I think that there are a lot of people on our roster who make it possible for these types of things. I have to say thank you to them for giving me the opportunity to make a team like this.”

MacIntosh, 22, has notched 12 points (5g, 7a), and is currently tied for third in the NLL in faceoff wins with 54. His 30 loose balls also ranks sixth in the league. During a Week #4 win against Buffalo, MacIntosh earned Rookie of the Week honors after recording four points (1g, 3a), a game-high 19 loose balls and 17 faceoff wins. In his first career NLL contest, MacIntosh set a new Swarm record with 27 faceoff wins against the Colorado Mammoth.

“It’s amazing, I’m in shock,” MacIntosh said on being selected to his first All-Star Game. “There have been so many good players to come through this team, and it’s such a strong league this year. After seeing the rosters yesterday and some of the players that are on them… these are guys who I have looked up to my entire career and now I’m going to be on the floor with them. It’s very surreal.”

Benesch added, “Getting selected to the All-Star Game as a rookie is a pretty big accomplishment and it’s well-deserved. He’s done everything that we could ask of him so far.”

The 2012 NLL All-Star game will take place at First Niagara Center in Buffalo on Saturday, Feb. 25 at 6 p.m. CT. Tickets for the All-Star Game are priced in the $25 to $35 range. To purchase tickets, click here.

Sullivan said Swarm fans should have plenty to watch that night in Buffalo.

“I think that you are going to get to see everything that we’re trying to work on,” Sullivan said. “You’re going to get to see Andrew Suitor knock some guys around defensively, play on the ball hard and make smart decisions. You are going to see Jordan MacIntosh dominate the faceoff circle. He and Geoff Snider I would say are #1 and #2 in the league in terms of faceoff effectiveness. Then you are going to see Callum Crawford and Ryan Benesch, one on the right and one on the left, just show their worth. They can make the best defenseman in the world look very humble when they get the opportunity."

The 2012 NLL All-Star game will be televised live on ESPN3 in the United States and can be viewed on the NLL Network at NLL.com in Canada and worldwide.

2012 All-Star Lineups

East All-Star Team

(Player, Team and # of times player has now been selected to All-Star Game)

Starter: John Tavares (Buffalo Bandits – 10th)
Starter: Cody Jamieson (Rochester Knighthawks – 2nd)
Luke Wiles (Buffalo Bandits – 2nd)
Dan Dawson (Philadelphia Wings – 6th)
Garrett Billings (Toronto Rock – 2nd)
Kevin Crowley (Philadelphia Wings – 1st)
Josh Sanderson (Toronto Rock – 7th)
Colin Doyle (Toronto Rock – 10th)
Johnny Powless (Rochester Knighthawks – 1st)

Starter: Brodie Merrill (Philadelphia Wings – 6th)
Max Seibald – (Philadelphia Wings – 2nd)

Starter: Billy Dee Smith (Buffalo Bandits – 1st)
Starter: Pat McCready (Rochester Knighthawks – 3rd)
Chris White (Buffalo Bandits – 4th)
Sandy Chapman (Toronto Rock – 2nd)
Mike Kirk (Rochester Knighthawks – 1st)

Starter: Mike Thompson (Buffalo Bandits – 1st)
Matt Roik (Toronto Rock – 2nd)

West All-Star Team

Starter: John Grant Jr. (Colorado Mammoth – 8th)
Starter: Adam Jones (Colorado Mammoth – 1st)
Gavin Prout (Colorado Mammoth – 8th)
Rhys Duch (Washington Stealth – 2nd)
Ryan Benesch (Minnesota Swarm – 2nd)
Callum Crawford (Minnesota Swarm – 2nd)

Shawn Williams (Edmonton Rush – 7th)
Jeff Shattler (Calgary Roughnecks – 4th)

Starter: Andrew Suitor (Minnesota Swarm – 1st)
Geoff Snider (Calgary Roughnecks – 5th)
Curtis Manning (Calgary Roughnecks – 1st)
Paul Rabil (Washington Stealth – 2nd)
Jordan MacIntosh (Minnesota Swarm – 1st)

Starter: Rory Smith (Colorado Mammoth – 1st)
Starter: Kyle Rubisch (Edmonton Rush – 2nd)
Chris Corbeil (Edmonton Rush – 1st)

Starter: Goaltender - Chris Levis (Colorado Mammoth – 2nd)
Goaltender – Aaron Bold (Edmonton Rush – 1st)

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