Matt Vinc: History in the Making

As the 2013 NLL season came to a close we saw the Rochester Knighthawks do something that hasn’t been done in 10 yrs.  Win back-to-back titles.  Now the question is can the Knighthawks make history by winning three in a row?  That part of history will have to wait about twelve months.

This year’s history talk was about the man between the pipes for the Champion Knighthawks.  MATT VINC!!

In 2013 Vinc played a total of 955:32 of a possible 960 minutes, that’s 99.5% of the season.  The only time Vinc was pulled from a game (other then for a delay penalty or extra attacker at end of half.. 13 seconds) was on Feb 9th in a game versus the Buffalo Bandits. Vinc and the Knighthawks won that game 15-7 and was removed with 4:19 remaining. The night before Vinc played all 60 minutes in a 20-10 rout of the Wings.  

In 10 of 16 regular season games he has held the opponent to ten or less goals, and allowed no more then 10 in the playoffs.  His GAA for the playoffs  9.33

Matt made history by becoming the first goaltender in NLL history to receive the Goaltender of the Year Award 3 times (2010,2011,& 2013).  That’s a tall order when you look at some of the greats that have been between the pipes and have never accomplished the task.  Dallas Eliuk, Bob Watson, Steve Dietrich, Pat O’Toole, just to name a few.  Vinc also set a league record (and team) with 662 saves.  He also led the league with a 10.17 GAA &  80.3% save percentage.  Vinc was also named Defensive Player of the Week three times this season.

Matt will tell you, winning the award three times is a testament to the defensive units he has had in front of him during his playing career thus far.

Vinc also broke the franchise record held by Hall of Famer Pat O’Toole by stopping over 600 shots and recording a save percentage over 80%  During this season, Vinc passed Steve Dietrich for second all time in saves by a Rochester goalie.  Vinc now has 1,830.  Hall of Famer Pat O’Toole has 5,754

During the entire 2013 season Vinc has obviously been the team MVP.  When you hold teams in the NLL to 10 or less goals, you give your team a greater chance of winning.  This season Rochester only scored 179 goals (7th overall) but only allowed 165.  

Off the floor, Vinc is a true professional. Taking time to talk to the fans, take a few pictures etc.  

It is probably safe to say that Vinc will be a Knighthawk for many more years, and if so he could possibly pass O’Toole as the greatest Knighthawk goalie of all time.

Matt Vinc is having a historic run as the Knighthawks goalie
Matt Vinc is having a historic run as the Knighthawks goalie

This summer Matt will take his talents to the WLA as he will be the goalie for the Victoria Shamrocks.

His dominance between the pipes started back in 1999 thru 2003 with the St Catherine Athletics in the OLA Junior A Lacrosse League.  His accomplishments for the A’s include:

  • 1 OLA Jr.A regular season MVP award

  • 3 OLA Jr.A playoff MVP awards

  • 3 OLA Jr.A championships (2001–2003)

  • 3 Bob Meleville Memorial Awards (lowest team total goals)

  • 2 Minto Cup National championships (2001, 2003)

  • 1 Minto Cup MVP Award

  • B.W. Evans Award (Top Graduating Player).

When Matt Vinc came to the NLL he was drafted by the San Jose Stealth in the 2005 NLL entry draft in the first round (sixth overall). During the 2006 NLL season, Vinc played sparingly with the Stealth. Following the season, he was chosen by the New York Titans in the 2006 NLL expansion draft. In 2007, he took over the starting goaltender role for the Titans.

In 2009, Vinc guided his team to a 10-6 record for a three way tie for first place in the Eastern Division with the Buffalo Bandits and the Boston Blazers. By virtue of the tie-breaker rules the Titans were awarded the Eastern Division regular season championship.

On May 9, in the Eastern Division playoff championship game, Vinc stopped 41 out of 44 shots and kept the highly offensive Buffalo Bandits to only three goals as the Titans defeated Buffalo 9-3. I was able to witness this game in person and you can see that Vinc was something special.  Only allowing 3 goals to a Buffalo team that was just loaded with talent.  Making save after impossible save.  Unfortunately that magical season came to an end with a 12-10 loss to the Calgary Roughnecks in the Championship game.  In 2010 with the Orlando Titans Vinc almost duplicated the feat, but fell in the semi-finals to the Toronto Rock.

When the Titans folded after the one season in Orlando, Vinc was chosen first overall in the dispersal draft by the Colorado Mammoth. Matt is a high school in St. Catharines, Ontario, however, he did not want to play in Colorado.

In October 2010, he was traded to the Rochester Knighthawks in a trade that sent Vinc and transition player Matt Zash to Rochester in exchange for superstar attackman John Grant, Jr. and defenseman Mac Allen.Draft picks were also exchanged.

Is it too early in Matt Vinc career to mention him as one of the greats?   Can we mention his name in the same breath as Bob Watson, Dallas Eliuk, Steve Dietrich, Pat O’Toole?

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