NLL: Big night for Vinc against Knighthawks

New Buffalo Bandits’ goalie Matt Vinc makes a save against the Philadelphia Wings. (Photo credit: Laura Kupsey)

The Buffalo Bandits took the lead in the beginning and never looked back for a wire-to-wire 13-4 victory over the Rochester Knighthawks on Saturday at KeyBank Center. The win was Buffalo’s third on the season and second consecutive.

Defense was key in the win, allowing the fewest goals in a game in franchise history. It was also a big night for the Bandits’ goaltender and off-season acquisition Matt Vinc. He saved 55 shots in the game on his way to becoming the NLL all-time saves leader with 7,273.

Head coach Rich Kilgour congratulated the veteran goaltender for breaking the record.

“Im really happy for Matt [Vinc] to get that accomplishment and to beat his old team,” Kilgour said via bandits.com. “Its a really great night for the Bandits and especially for Matt.”

Vinc being the veteran team leader, however, focused more on the overall team success than his own accomplishment.

“Im just thankful for how we played as a team,” Vinc said. “I think we executed in all facets of the game and we really showed the kind of lacrosse we can play when were firing on all cylinders.”

Vinc and the Bandits held the Knighthawks to one goal per quarter.

For Vinc to get the official record against his former team and it results in a victory, it was icing on the cake.

The offense held up their end of the deal as well for the Bandits. Leading the way was Shawn Evans who scored two goals and added three assists in the game, ending the night with a five-point game. Three other Bandits had four-point nights, including Corey Small (2G/2A), Dhane Smith (2G/2A) and Josh Byrne (4A). Thomas Hoggarth chipped in another two goals.

Vinc wasn’t the only one who reached a career milestone. Captain Steve Priolo tallied his 100th career assist along with two goals in the winning effort. He credited the offensive success against the Knighthawks to the chemistry he and his teammates built up during the off-season:

“You try to spend as much time getting to know each other and getting used to each others tendencies, but the best way to be doing that is by playing. Without a training camp, youre thrown in the mix right away. Adjustments come along the way and you start to get comfortable with each other and you get a game like tonight.”

Buffalo fans may recall that the team spent some time during training camp working on team chemistry by participating in an escape room. Mental performance coach Dr. Chris Suita scheduled the activity.

“This is a great team bonding activity with the younger and older players working together with humiliation in effort to achieve success.” Dr. Suita said.

The Bandits are on their bye week of the season, but will be back in action Saturday, January 19th to end their four-game home stand against the Philadelphia Wings. Game time is set for 7:30 p.m. ET.

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