WAKEFIELD, Mass. - After being named Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) Gongshow® Goaltender of the Month on Thursday, Miami University freshman netminder Ryan McKay was selected HCA National Rookie of the Month for December, the Hockey Commissioners' Association announced Friday. McKay was chosen for the award among the Rookies of the Month from each of the five Division I hockey conferences.
McKay (Palatine, Ill.) is the second RedHawk to earn HCA National Rookie of the Month this year as freshman forward Riley Barber garnered the honor for the month of October.
Coming off an injury that caused him to miss the entire month of November, McKay returned in goal Dec. 1 and played four games during the month, looking sharp as ever, as he conceded just three goals in December. One of the goals allowed came on the power play while he didn't allow more than one goal in any game. He posted a measly 0.76 goals-against average and a .970 save percentage in the month, both of which were first in the CCHA during December and in the top four nationally for the month. McKay went 2-2-0 in his four games, suffering a pair of 1-0 losses, while pitching one shutout with 96 saves.
In his first game back from injury Dec. 1 at Alaska, McKay blanked the Nanooks with a 26-save shutout. It was his second career whitewash, also pitching one in his very first game as a RedHawk Oct. 12 against Colgate. He was named the No. 1 star of the game for his efforts. On Dec. 8, he suffered a tough-luck loss against Lake Superior, allowing only a power play goal, while stopping 28 shots, as he was named the game's third star.
In McKay's next outing Dec. 15 at Ohio State, he again let in just one goal, the first even strength goal allowed in his career. He stopped 22 shots to earn the 3-1 win. McKay again suffered a tough-luck loss, however, in the championship game of the Three Rivers Classic Dec. 29, as Miami fell to Robert Morris, 1-0. McKay stopped 20 shots in that contest.
McKay was also very strong on the penalty kill all month, as the RedHawks went 20-for-21 down a man with him in net. He helped kill seven penalties at Alaska and five in each of his final two games of the month, including a pair of 5-on-3 kills against Robert Morris.
McKay has allowed only four goals all season in seven starts, two of which came with Miami a man down. He boasts a 0.65 GAA and .975 save percentage on the year, both of which would be first in the country if he had played enough minutes to qualify for NCAA statistics.
McKay and the No. 6 RedHawks are off this weekend but return to CCHA action at Northern Michigan Friday and Saturday, Jan. 11-12. Miami beat and tied NMU in Oxford earlier this season.