The two-time defending NLL champion Rochester Knighthawks are in a rather comfortable situation as they begin their quest for a historic third Champion’s Cup in a row. Rochester recently made this situation even more ideal, locking up two key components of their recent success in captain Sid Smith and goaltender Matt Vinc.
In just three seasons with the Knighthawks, Vinc has been named team MVP twice during his time in Rochester. En route to backstopping the team to two championships, the netminder has also racked up countless personal accolades. Last season, Vinc led the NLL in goals against average with 10.17, while setting a league record for single-season saves with 662. The St.Catharines, ON native also received NLL All-Pro nods for the fourth time in his career, while capturing Goaltender of the Year hardware for the third time since 2010 (twice doing so in a Knighthawks uniform).
Vinc’s recent achievements are even more impressive when taking into consideration the amount of shots the netminder takes per year. The Canisius graduate has seen over 900 shots come his way in the Knighthawks championship seasons. Since the 2008 season, which was the second of his career and first as a starting goalie, Vinc has registered at least ten in the win column.
While Vinc has held it down between the pipes for Rochester, captain Sid Smith has anchored the defensive core during their recent triumphs. Smith took over captaincy duties in 2013, leading the team both on the floor and in forced turnovers (16) in his first year wearing the “C”.
A Six Nations, ON product, Smith was the first overall draft pick in the 2009NLL Entry Draft. Since joining the team, Smith has been a force on the back end, leading the team in forced turnovers two out of the last three seasons.
Smith and Vinc continued their Knighthawks success into the summer, as each earned a spot in the Mann Cup finals. Despite registering 40-plus saves in all but one appearance during the series, Vinc’s Victoria Shamrocks eventually fell to Smith’s Six Nations Chiefs in six games.
The Knighthawks training camp will get underway November 23rd before pre-season action begins on December 7th against the Minnesota Swarm.
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