CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS – The North American Hockey League (NAHL) has named Corpus Christi IceRays goaltender Dryden McKay the Easton Hockey NAHL South Division Star of the Week, the league announced this afternoon. This is the second honor for McKay this season, and he is the second-straight IceRays player to earn the award.
"It’s definitely an honor, but it was also a team effort in both games,” said McKay on the award. “I didn’t have to face as many side-to-side chances, and we didn’t give up very many odd-man rushes. I just had to face a lot of straight shots. I just tried to do my job, and the defense did a great job of clearing rebounds.”
McKay, 18, has been on the rise since before the calendar turned over to 2016, but the second half of the season has cemented the strength the goaltender brings. The Downer’s Grove, Ill., native saved 76 shots on 79 attempts, including 40 of 41 shots in Saturday’s 2-1 win, last weekend against the Wichita Falls Wildcats, a team ranked second in the NAHL in goals per game and in the top-five in shot attempts, en route to a two-game split. This comes following another strong performance the previous weekend, now only conceding two goals or less in four-straight games and 13 of his last 16 contests dating back to the start of December. In that same span, his goals-against average has plummeted from 3.31 at the start of December to its current 2.49 mark while his save percentage has climbed from sub-.900 to .919 in that same frame.
“I’ve found my routine on and off the ice. I’ve found things that have helped me get to a good place both physically and mentally for games. I feel like once you find a routine it helps you get into a rhythm. I look at [the playoff race] as a challenge, and it’s kind of fun to have that competition with Odessa and race for the last playoff spot. It makes the wins that much sweeter, and it helps the team elevate their game knowing each win is so vital.
“Over the past 11 games, [Dryden] likely has the best numbers in the entire NAHL with 1.41 GAA and a .950 SA%,” said IceRays head coach John Becanic. “He has been a major factor in us continuing to battle for the last playoff spot in the South. Our team has rallied around him and have started to play playoff-type hockey heading down the stretch.”
The 5-foot-11, 170-pound goaltender earns his second top weekly honor, both coming in the second half of the season. McKay previously gained league recognition for his strong performance on February 11-13 against the Lone Star Brahmas, allowing only three goals in three games while picking up his first shutout of the season. McKay is now 16th in the NAHL in GAA and 12th in save percentage while improving to 12-10-2. He was also named South Division 2nd Star of the Week last week.
This is the second-straight week an IceRays player has earned the top weekly honor in the division. Andy McGlynn also earned his second top honor last week following the team’s final trip to Odessa. Four different IceRays have combined for six top awards this season with five of the six coming in the 2016 calendar year. Goaltender Graham Hunt and forward Drake Lindsay also earned the same honor earlier this year, and forward Regen Cavanagh was named NAHL Forward of the Month in December, continuing the best season for individual honors in junior franchise history.
The IceRays head on the road to round out their season series with the Lone Star Brahmas starting on Friday, March 18 at 7:30 p.m. from the NYTEX Sports Centre. The IceRays return to the American Bank Center on Friday, March 25 and open a two-game set against the Odessa Jackalopes. Contact the IceRays Front Office at 361-814-PUCK or go to www.goicerays.com for details on season tickets along with pricing and seating. In addition, stay connected with the IceRays on Facebook (/CorpusChristiIceRays), Twitter (@goicerays), YouTube (IceRays TV), Instagram (CorpusChristiIceRays), Vine (@goicerays), and Periscope (@goicerays).