(May 15, 2017)… The Rochester Knighthawks will announce their 2017 award winners over the next two weeks. The first award is the most coveted, the team’s most valuable player. It’s an honor that has been bestowed upon some of the greatest names in the game like Paul Gait, John Grant Jr. and Cody Jamieson.
This year, the award goes to a player whose name is the most prevalent on that elite list, goalie Matt Vinc. For a franchise-record fifth time, the netminder has been voted the Knighthawks RICOH MVP.
“Any time you are recognized by your teammates, it’s definitely a huge honor,” said Vinc. “I know the season didn’t go the way a lot of us had planned, but there were a lot of bright spots with the way we played.
“A lot of rookies got plenty of exposure and played really well for us. In the defensive end, we were pretty strong. We held a lot of good offenses to under 10 goals. Our defense made my job a lot easier and gave me a chance to be successful. We were a very competitive group.”
In 2017, Vinc finished fourth in the NLL in save percentage (.776) and fifth in goals-against average (11.37). He also made 592 saves, which included a career-tying 53-save effort on March 17. Vinc was part of a defense that allowed the third least amount of goals in the NLL (209) and limited opponents to 10 or fewer goals eight times. Once again, he was a difference maker for the Knighthawks.
“‘V’ gave us an opportunity to win every night,” said Knighthawks head coach Mike Hasen. “His focus was tremendous. He was making saves we needed him to make and stopping ones that should have gone in the net.”
Vinc’s success, according to Hasen, is due to his commitment and dedication to being the best goaltender in the world every season.
“His work ethic is top notch. He wants to be one of the hardest working guys on and off the floor,” said Hasen. “He is a student of the game. He knows where guys are going to shoot and where he wants our guys to defend to make it as easy as possible for the group.”
This season, the five-time NLL Goalie of the Year reached two career milestones. On March 3, he recorded his 4,000th save as a Knighthawk, joining Pat O’Toole as the only goalie in team history to reach that plateau. Earlier in the season, Vinc became just the fifth goalie in NLL history to hit the 6,000-save mark.
In seven seasons with the Knighthawks, he has amassed the second most saves in team history (4,264) and sits eighth in games played (119). From 2012-14, the St. Catharines, Ontario native also backstopped the Knighthawks to a league-record three straight Champion’s Cups. Vinc, who was acquired in 2010, has been a major factor in the team’s success since coming over from Colorado.
“He’s been the best at his position at every level he has played,” said Knighthawks defenseman Ian Llord. “His consistency and dedication are unmatched. As the old saying goes, ‘Numbers don’t lie.’ He has been the best in the world from 2010 to the present.”
On Tuesday, the Knighthawks will announce their Rookie of the Year and Offensive MVP. Here is the complete announcement schedule:
Monday, May 15: MVP – Matt Vinc
Tuesday, May 16: Rookie of the Year and Offensive MVP
Wednesday, May 17: Best Defenseman
Monday, May 22: Wolf Pack Award
Tuesday, May 23: Community Service Award
Wednesday, May 24: Seventh Man