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04/29/2013 - 10:12am

(April 29, 2013)… No player has been more important to the Rochester Knighthawks in 2013 than goaltender Matt Vinc, at least according to his teammates. The team voted “Vno” as this season’s Most Valuable Player for the second time in his three years in Rochester.

“He has, in my opinion, been our MVP this year and quite possibly MVP of the league,” said transition man Brad Self. “This year, he’s been unbelievable. It gives you just that much more confidence as defensive unit and as a team to know that if you do make mistakes, he’s there to back you up.”

“Vno’s been dynamite to say the least for us,” said Rochester Head Coach Mike Hasen. “He’s our backbone back there and that’s one thing we expect of him week in and week out. He’s been on top of his game this year, which is great for us. We are going to keep on riding him all the way to the end.”

Vinc is having a historic season in 2013, rewriting both franchise and league record books.

Not only did the 30-year-old netminder from St. Catharines, Ontario lead the National Lacrosse League in saves, but he broke Rob Blasdell’s record of 644 saves in a single season. Blasdell’s mark has stood for the past 11 years since the league moved to a 16-game schedule for the 2001-02 season.

Vinc averaged over 40 saves per game in 2013 and set the new league record against the Buffalo Bandits in the regular season finale on April 20th. Vinc joined Dallas Eliuk as the only other goalie to lead the NLL in saves four times.

“The saves are a byproduct of the defense that we play,” Vinc said. “We’re a defensive-minded team and it shows.”

In Rochester’s game against Edmonton on April 14th, Vinc surpassed Knighthawks’ Hall of Fame goaltender Pat O’Toole, setting a new franchise record for saves in a single season. Not only did Vinc break O’Toole’s record of 598, but he became the first Rochester goaltender to record 600 saves in a single season. In addition, he passed Steve Dietrich for second all-time in saves as a Knighthawk.

The two-time All-Pro also set a new franchise single-season record for save percentage. His best month of the 2013 campaign was February, where he did not allow more than 10 goals in a game and had a save percentage over .800 in all five games.

If Vinc earns the NLL’s Goaltender of the Year Award, he would become the only netminder to win the award three times in his career. He won back-to-back Goaltender of the Year Awards in 2010 with Orlando and 2011 with Rochester.

“(Breaking records) just means that I have played a lot of minutes,” Vinc said. “The years I got (Goaltender of the Year) I didn’t do too much in the playoffs.”

He could join Dietrich as the only goaltender to be crowned the NLL’s Goaltender of the Year and MVP. In 2006, Dietrich led the league in goals-against average and save percentage while backstopping the Buffalo Bandits to an appearance in the Champion’s Cup, and was rewarded with both league honors.

While earning recognition for his efforts between the pipes is nice, Vinc is most concerned about giving his team an opportunity to repeat as World Champions.

“The ultimate goal is to win,” he said. “My favorite year in the league was last year because we won. I think that’s the ultimate goal of our team.”

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