VINC WINS GOALIE OF THE YEARSep 21, 2014
(September 21, 2014)… After backstopping the Rochester Knighthawks to the first three-peat in National Lacrosse League history, Matt Vinc was named the 2014 NLL Goaltender of the Year. Vinc, who was also named a First Team All-Pro, won the award for a league-record fourth time. (Photo by Graig Abel)
The 32-year-old netminder received the honor at the first-ever NLL Season Awards Ceremony in Oakville, Ontario. Vinc was one of three finalists for the award, which included Edmonton’s Aaron Bold and Buffalo’s Anthony Cosmo. “Vno” recognized his fellow goalies in his acceptance speech.
“I am honored to be representing a group of goalies, especially ‘Coszy’ and ‘Boldy,’ who I played with,” said Vinc. “I know how much time and effort they put in and it was a reflection of the type of numbers they put in this year.”
Vinc thanked his family, the fans, coaches and players, and his fiancée, Lisa. He also made sure to acknowledge the man who brought him to Rochester prior to the 2011 season, Owner and General Manager Curt Styres.
“Curt had a vision of a family type of atmosphere and I think he has been successful in creating that,” said Vinc. “I am really thankful to be part of that vision.”
The nine-year NLL pro finished second in the league this year in save percentage (.798), tied for second in wins with a 12-3 record, and third in goals-against average (9.56), saves (595) and minutes played (947:43). The Knighthawks allowed the second-fewest goals in the NLL (167) and finished atop the East Division. Vinc’s commitment to fitness and game preparedness has been the key to his success.
“He is the guy who puts in the most work. He is focused from the morning shoot around to the end of the game,” said Knighthawks defenseman and assistant captain Mike Kirk. “He always wants to be the best player on the floor.”
“It is very fitting (he won the award). He is the backbone of our team,” said Head Coach Mike Hasen. “He is a true professional. He makes us better every time he steps on the floor for us.”
During the 2014 Playoffs, “Vno” registered a 9.85 goals-against average and a .764 save percentage. More importantly, Vinc led the Knighthawks to their third straight Champion’s Cup. Over the past three seasons, he has a playoff record of 10-2.
“He’s the reason why we have been able to win the past three years,” said Kirk. “He leads the way for us.”
The St. Catharines, Ontario native played collegiately at Canisius College and was drafted in the first round (sixth overall) of the 2005 NLL Entry Draft. Vinc has raced to the top of the NLL all-time charts since his rookie season in 2006. He ranks among the all-time best in saves, moving into seventh in regular season stops (4,629) and ranking fifth in the postseason (640).
“He has the drive to be the best and make the (big) saves. He’s never satisfied, never complacent. He always works harder,” said Knighthawks Assistant Coach and NLL Hall of Fame goalie Pat O’Toole. “That bodes well for our team because he’s the top goalie in the league and he is always looking to be better.”