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Colorado Selects Two Forwards, Three Defenseman at 2023 NLL Entry Draft

DENVER – The Colorado Mammoth of the National Lacrosse League (NLL) exited the 2023 NLL Entry Draft having made five selections, including Ben McDonald (second round, 34th overall), Sean Kriwokon (third round, 43rd overall), Matt Brandau (fourth round, 67th overall), AJ Mercurio (fifth round, 81st overall) and Declan Fitzpatrick (sixth round, 96th overall).

Selecting two forwards and three defenseman throughout the daylong event inside the Toronto Rock Athletic Center (TRAC), the organization will invite three of the five to training camp, while Matt Brandau and AJ Mercurio are expected to return to their respective universities.

After sending its first round selection (14th overall) to the Albany FireWolves in exchange for forward Connor Kelly last weekend, the Mammoth began the draft by selecting forward Ben McDonald with its second round pick (34th overall).

Most recently logging 73 points (37g, 36a) this summer with the Delta Islanders Jr. A club (BCJALL), which qualified as the second most in the BCJALL at that point (ranked No. 5 at the end of the season), McDonald was acquired by the Okotoks Raiders Jr. A organization (RMLL) prior to the trade deadline, where Mammoth Assistant General Manager Andrew McBride serves as the team’s General Manager, Head Coach.

Expanding on his productive regular season campaign by chipping in 18 points (7g, 11a) in four games with the Raiders, the Delta, British Columbia native added 23 points (11g, 12a) and two penalty minutes in seven postgame appearances with Okotoks.

Initially ranked as high as No. 24 overall within the NLL’s Top 50 Prospects article, Colorado not only saw the value pick in selecting McDonald, but can now build on his existing relationship and familiarity with McBride and company.

With its next pick, Colorado selected defenseman Sean Kriwokon in the third round (43rd overall). Continuing to lean on McBride and his talent evaluation skills in scouting the Alberta area and surrounding provinces, the Mammoth doubled down on Okotoks Raiders’ personnel.

Recording six points (4g, 2a), and 17 penalty minutes in 14 regular season games with the Raiders, he went on to add one points (0g, 1a) and eight penalty minutes in seven postseason appearances.

The 6-4, 215 lb. defenseman also racked up six points (4g, 2a) and 37 ground balls during his sophomore season at Simon Fraser University (MCLA), where the Airdrie, Alberta native earned 1st Team All-Conference Defense and Honorable Mention All-America Defense honors.

Switching gears back to the O-zone, the Mammoth eyed a second right-handed scorer when the team selected forward Matt Brandau with its fourth-round pick (67th overall).

Appearing in 15 games with Yale University this past spring, the Timonium, Maryland native produced 70 points (37g, 33a), 24 ground balls and six caused turnovers during his third collegiate season. Logging his seventh game-winning goal April 4 during a win over Boston University, he extended his career figures at the Ivy League school to an impressive 259 points (154g, 105a) and 117 ground balls.

He’ll have the opportunity to build on those figures this spring when he returns to Yale.

Later selecting defenseman AJ Mercurio in the fifth round (81st overall), the organization drafted another physical presence in the 6-3, 230 lb. prospect. Continuing to play his college ball just over six miles from the LOUD HOUSE with the Denver Pioneers, the Reno, Nevada native most recently logged three points (3g, 0a), 19 ground balls and seven caused turnovers in 15 games played.

Wielding a pole as a defensive midfielder for DU, he’s managed to record eight points (7g, 1a), 64 ground balls and 34 caused turnovers in 47 collegiate appearances. Named to the All-Big EAST First Team last season, he’s expected to return to Denver for his final year of eligibility.

With the second to last pick in the 2023 NLL Entry Draft, the Mammoth selected forward Declan Fitzpatrick (sixth round, 96th) to conclude its evening. Spending the summer with the Langley Thunder’s Jr. A squad (BCJALL), he recorded 39 points (19g, 20a) 37 penalty minutes in 14 games played.

Eventually shifting gears and competing for Minto Cup honors with the Edmonton Miners, the Maple Ridge, BC native logged nine points (4g, 5a) in four appearances.

Set to enter training camp at 6-5, 225 lbs., the big-bodied talent will have a shot to compete for a roster spot in six short weeks.

Mammoth fans can view the entire 2023 NLL Entry Draft results here.

Mammoth fans can stay tuned to and Colorado Mammoth social media channels as the team prepares to begin its 2023-24 training camp sessions in just over a month.

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