ST. CLOUD, Minn. — Ryan McKay entered Friday’s game coming off his first shutout of the season, one in which he made 20 saves to blank one-win Canisius.
The Miami sophomore goaltender found himself in a much tougher environment Friday.
The seventh-ranked RedHawks faced unbeaten No. 3 St. Cloud State on the road and walked away with a 2-0 victory.
McKay made 31 saves to earn his seventh career shutout and hasn’t allowed a goal in his last 156:09 of playing time.
“It was really just a team effort thing,” said McKay, who last gave up a goal early in the second period of an Oct. 26 game against Providence. “We blocked more shots than we did in the first few games of the season. I thought it was our best complete game we’ve played this year.”
McKay allowed four goals in that 4-4 tie to Providence, bringing his total goals allowed to nine in three games. He had only two scoreless periods in that stretch.
“The four goals he gave up against Providence is not indicative of how he plays,” Miami coach Enrico Blasi said. “Ryan and Jay [Williams] work their butts off all week and spend a lot of time studying the game and now, they’re getting outcomes.”
Williams has split the starts with McKay all season, just as they did in 2012-13. McKay is 4-0-1 this season and Williams is 2-2-0.
“McKay played well and he’s your best penalty killer,” St. Cloud State defenseman Kevin Gravel said. “He had a great game tonight and he wasn’t giving us much to work with.”
After Riley Barber scored to make the score 2-0 early in the third period, McKay faced a barrage of SCSU shots.
McKay stopped everyone he faced and was fortunate the Huskies couldn’t capitalize on Grade-A scoring chances in front of the crease.
“When things are going well and you’re making saves, you don’t really think about it,” said McKay, who made 12 saves in the third period. “You have to welcome those situations as a goalie.”
After a scoreless first period, the RedHawks began the second with four minutes left on a Ryan Papa major penalty for checking from behind.
SCSU killed the penalty off to preserve the scoreless tie despite Miami finishing the major with seven shots on goal.
Matt Joyaux got the RedHawks on the board at the 7:08 mark of the second period. Alex Wideman hit Joyaux on a pass from down low out to the high slot and Joyaux beat SCSU goalie Ryan Faragher five-hole.
Barber increased the lead with a goal 8:42 into the third period. Austin Czarnik won the draw back to Barber and he sniped a laser shot past Faragher.
Czarnik and Barber are tied for the national lead in points with 15 each.
“We knew we had to come in and play hard and play our game,” Blasi said. “We had to limit our mistakes and we did that for the most part. I thought we played a pretty good road game.”
Faragher finished the game with 29 saves.
Miami complemented McKay’s play in net with a strong penalty kill that came in struggling at 80.5 percent. The RedHawks killed off five Huskies’ power plays Friday.
“I thought we blocked a lot of shots and our sticks were in good position a lot of the time,” Blasi said. “You can’t give SCSU second-chance opportunities and we did a good job of that tonight and our penalty killers kept them off the board.”
Added Gravel: “It’s tough to win against a team like this when you go 0-for on the power play. It’s really tough. We’re going to have to look at some film tomorrow morning.”