Sep 29, 2015

Matt Vinc 5th award.jpg(September 29, 2015)… For a record fifth time, Matt Vinc of the Rochester Knighthawks was named the National Lacrosse League's Goaltender of the Year. “Vno” won the award for the third straight season as he edged a field of goalies that included Saskatchewan’s Aaron Bold and Toronto’s Brandon Miller.

There is a brotherhood that exists among goalies, especially with the three nominated netminders. It was just this past Sunday that the three goalies celebrated winning gold with Team Canada at the 2015 FIL World Indoor Lacrosse Championship in Syracuse, NY. Vinc, who was named to his second straight All-World team and won top goaltender honors for the second time, recognized Bold and Miller for their contributions to Canada’s indoor title.

“I had the privilege of sharing the crease with them for the last 10 days,” said Vinc. “You talk about a goalie union. Every time you go out there you want to support one another. I couldn’t have done anything over that last week without them. It was an unbelievable experience to be playing with them once again."

Vinc admitted he was surprised by his selection, and said the NLL should create a stat for blocking shots because his defense soaks in 15 to 20 per game. 

“It is definitely an honor. It speaks to the type of team we are with our system and our tight defensive play,” said Vinc. “I have a great relationship with the coaching staff. They know my style of play and we play a great system that complements that.”

Last season, Vinc finished tied for first in the NLL with an impressive .803 save percentage. He was also second in saves (655) and goals-against average (9.64), tied for second in wins (10) and third in a career-high minutes played (1003:58). The St. Catharines, Ontario native made 40-plus saves in seven games and allowed 10 or fewer goals in 10 games, including a league-record two goals allowed in one game. He was the anchor of a Rochester defense that limited opponents to a league-best 173 goals against. During the season, Vinc also became only the sixth player in NLL history to reach 5,000 saves.

“He's the most dedicated guy to his position in the sport,” said Knighthawks transition man Jordan Hall when Vinc was named a finalist. “He watches more film than anyone and is in the best shape of any player in the league. He's the most prepared guy in the league.”

His dedication to his craft has paid off, as Vinc has won the league’s top goalie honor in 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015. Tonight at the Toronto Rock Athletic Centre, he was also named an NLL All-Pro for the sixth time in his career, and earned his fifth First-Team selection.

“He has been the best goalie the last five years in an era with some other fantastic goalies,” said Knighthawks assistant coach Paul Day. “I just saw him do a fantastic job with Team Canada and he has been our backbone in Rochester since his arrival.”

“He's the best goalie because he makes big saves at important times in big games year in and year out,” said Knighthawks defenseman Mike Kirk. “Not only is he the backbone of our defense, but he's the backbone of our entire team.”

After coming to Rochester prior to the 2011 season, Vinc has led the Knighthawks to five straight playoff berths and three Champion’s Cups (2012-14). Last season, he backstopped the team to a berth in the East Division Finals. Vinc, who was acquired by the Knighthawks in October of 2010 from the Colorado Mammoth, ranks second in team history in regular season and postseason saves.

On Tuesday, Vinc was humbled by the honor and thanked his defense, his teammates, along with wife, Lisa, and his family. He also reserved a special thanks to Knighthawks Owner and General Manager Curt Styres.

“After playing in Orlando, I was looking for a home and Curt Styres was a perfect person to provide me with that home,” he said. “He emphasizes family and it shows in everything he does. Thanks again, Curt."

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