Matt Vinc, Honored to Receive Pro Athlete of the Year Award

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By Craig Rybczynski -- Rochester Knighthawks goalie Matt Vinc knows all about breaking records and winning awards. As the only four-time winner of the National Lacrosse League’s Goaltender of the Year Award, “Vno” has become accustomed to hearing his name at awards ceremonies. Tonight, Vinc will add a new honor to his Hall of Fame resume, as the winner of the Democrat and Chronicle Pro Athlete of the Year.

“I am extremely honored and humbled to win such a prestigious award and be listed along with the past recipients of accomplished athletes,” said Vinc, who joins past winners like Abby Wambach (U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team) and Ryan Callahan (Tampa Bay Lightning).

In 2014, Vinc backstopped the Knighthawks to the first three-peat in NLL and Rochester sports history. The 32-year-old netminder was again clutch in the playoffs, helping Rochester rally twice from series deficits to win the Champion’s Cup. In the NLL Championship Series, his last-second save preserved a 3-2 lead in the 10-minute mini-game and allowed the Knighthawks to remain champions.

“To be able to win a championship makes all the hard work worthwhile,” said Vinc. “I get goose bumps thinking of our championship game and how we were able to come back and never quit.”

After the team’s third straight title, Vinc was named the 2014 NLL Goaltender of the Year and a First Team All-Pro. It was a season in which he finished second in the league in save percentage (.798), tied for second in wins with a 12-3 record, and third in goals-against average (9.56), saves (595) and minutes played (947:45). The Knighthawks also allowed the second-fewest goals in the NLL (167) and finished atop the East Division. 

During the 2014 Playoffs, Vinc registered a 9.85 goals-against average and a .764 save percentage. Over the past three seasons, he has a playoff record of 10-2 and, more importantly, three championship rings.

“Matt Vinc is the backbone of our team. He has consistently been the best goalie in the world,” said forward Joe Walters. “It always seems like he plays his best games during the playoffs. He's been a huge part of our team’s success.”

Vinc, who was named the Knighthawks 2015 MVP, will lead Rochester into the Champion’s Cup Playoffs on Friday, May 8th as it hosts the Buffalo Bandits at 7:00 p.m. in the East Division Semifinals.