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 Buffalo Bandits

'He Does Everything': Byrne Caps of Illustrious Season with NLL Finals MVP Award

May 19, 2024 - National Lacrosse League (NLL)
Buffalo Bandits News Release

Buffalo Bandits coach John Tavares has watched as Josh Byrne has evolved into one of the best players in the National Lacrosse League. Byrne, who is in his sixth season with the Bandits, surpassed the 90-point mark in each of the last two seasons before erupting for a league-leading 135 points (53+82) in 18 regular-season games in 2023-24.

The forward was named the team's Most Valuable Player to close out the regular season and was recognized as both the NLL's Offensive Player of the Year and MVP prior to Game 1 of the 2024 NLL Finals on Friday. His storybook season culminated in a second straight championship while being named the MVP of the Finals following Buffalo's 15-13 win over the Albany FireWolves in Game 2 on Saturday inside KeyBank Center.

"It's taken a little while to get to where he's at because he's so aware of his teammates and didn't want to step on anybody's toes and just kind of work his way into being the best player on our team or in the league," Tavares said. "And you know, to get the MVP like he did, I think it's just more than getting points. It's what type of points he's getting. ... He does everything. He's a great team leader and he still is trying to put his teammates first."

Byrne assisted on seven of the Bandits' nine goals in the first half of Game 2 and recorded a game-high nine points (1+8) and a team-best 10 shots on goal just one night after tallying three goals and four assists in Buffalo's 12-8 win in Game 1 of the Finals in Albany on Friday.

The New Westminster, British Columbia native compiled 33 points (12+21) in five playoff games to help lead the Bandits to a single-elimination quarterfinal win over Georgia before sweeping their best-of-three semifinal series against Toronto and best-of-three championship series with Albany.

"Individual accolades are really a nod to the players around you," Byrne said following the championship-clinching win. "... They are a reflection of what my teammates have done to try to support me, which is an incredible thing.

"I couldn't be happier to be part of such a great group. I'm sure you guys can see it, but we're all so close, man. We're all best friends and we all celebrate each other. It's a cool thing to be a part of."

While Albany limited Byrne's chances to find the back of the net, he was able to impact the game in other ways, facilitating the ball and making plays to set up his teammates, including a hidden-ball trick with Chase Fraser in the third quarter.

The Bandits' 5-0 championship run would also not have been possible without Byrne's overtime winner in the quarterfinals against Georgia to push the Bandits ahead to the NLL Semifinals with a 10-9 win over the Swarm. He then assisted on each of Buffalo's game-winning goals in Games 1 and 2 of the semifinals against Toronto to advance to the Finals.

"Coming to Buffalo I knew how talented he was, and I just knew how well rounded his game was," forward Kyle Buchanan said. "I think each and every year he improves on another part of his game. ... He's still pretty young, he still has a long way to go. So, excited to see what he can do and I don't think this is his last MVP season."

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