Dryden McKay doesn’t mince words. He wants to get a shutout every time he takes the ice.

The Minnesota State University senior goalie also has his priorities in order. As long as the Mavericks have more goals on the scoreboard than their opponent when the final buzzer sounds, McKay can rest easily, knowing he did his job.

“I think every goalie is going into a game hoping to get a shutout,” McKay said last week. “That’s the end goal. Some games you have better chances than others, but you never know.

“... All I really care about is winning. Whether it’s 1-0 or 6-5, it doesn’t matter to me. I’d rather get the win.”

McKay has done a lot of winning in his MSU career. He played in his 100th game as a Maverick last Friday night and earned his 78th career win and 26th career shutout as top-ranked MSU held off No. 2 St. Cloud State 1-0 at the Mayo Clinic Health System Event Center.

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St. Cloud State answered with a 3-1 win on Saturday, but the split was enough to keep the Mavericks atop the USCHO.com national rankings this week, as they prepare for a Frozen Four-like field of opponents this weekend at the Ice Breaker Invitational in Duluth. MSU faces No. 10-ranked Providence in the tournament opener at 4 p.m. Friday. Host Minnesota Duluth, the No. 5 team in the country, follows with a 7:37 p.m. game against No. 3 Michigan.

With the Mavericks’ first four games of this season coming against the teams that played in last year’s national championship game few people likely expected MSU to be 3-1-0 going into the Ice Breaker. Fewer yet likely expected McKay would record two shutouts in the first three games of the season.

But here he is, the 6-foot, 183-pound Downers Grove, Ill., native tied with Ryan Miller for the most shutouts in NCAA history. Miller recorded 26 during his time at Michigan State from 1999-2002.

"I'm happy for (McKay),” MSU head coach Mike Hastings said after last Friday’s game. “His demeanor hasn't changed the last couple years. His confidence has grown because of the work he's put in."

McKay has the opportunity to get No. 27 and claim the record for himself Friday against the Friars. If it doesn’t happen then, it seems like just a matter of time before it does.

“First of all, he allows our guys to play -- I don’t want to say relaxed -- he allows them to be confident that he has their backs,” Hastings said this week. “If they do their job and we do it collectively as a group of five in front of Dryden, he’s going to be in a good spot because, more often than not, he does a great job of controlling rebounds.

“If we don’t make him stop two, three, four shots, we can make the game easier for him.”

Here’s are a few fast facts about the record McKay has tied, as well as a look at all 26 of his shutouts in his college career:

Shutout facts and figures

• Of McKay’s 26 shutouts, 22 of them have come against conference opponents (all in the WCHA; the Mavericks have yet to face a CCHA opponent this season, in their first year in the league).

• McKay has recorded 16 shutouts at home and 10 on the road. That number had been more lopsided in favor of home games until the start of last season. McKay’s first five shutouts of the 2020-21 season came on the road.

• He has shut out two teams four times: Lake Superior State and Alabama-Huntsville.

• He has shut out five other teams more than once: Ferris State and Northern Michigan three times each, and Alaska Anchorage, Michigan Tech and Bemidji State twice each.

• That leaves six opponents that have been shut out once by McKay: then-WCHA rivals Alaska and Bowling Green, and non-conference opponents Arizona State, Minnesota, UMass and St. Cloud State.

• The most saves McKay has made in a shutout is 31, twice. The fewest he has had to make in a shutout is 7, in a 4-0 win against Alaska on Jan. 3, 2020. The Nanooks managed just five shots in the first period that night, only two in the second and none in the third.

• McKay recorded 4 shutouts as a freshman, 10 as a sophomore, 10 as a junior and now 2 so far as a senior.

The shutouts

2018-19 Season

DEC. 1, 2018

MSU 3, Lake Superior State 0: McKay’s first career shutout was actually the second of the season for the Mavericks (Mathias Israelsson shut out Alaska 4-0 on Oct. 26, 2018). McKay stopped 23 shots on this night as the No. 4-ranked Mavericks took down No. 20 LSSU. Charlie Gerard, Parker Tuomie and Josh French scored for MSU.

• • • •

DEC. 8, 2018

MSU 6, Alaska Anchorage 0: Parker Tuomie scored 5:21 into the game, the only goal that McKay needed on this night. He made 12 saves in the win as No. 3-ranked MSU improved to 14-2-0. Marc Michaelis had a three-point night, with two goals and an assist.

• • • •

FEB. 2, 2019

MSU 4, Alabama Huntsville 0: McKay made 12 saves — half of them in the third period — as the No. 6-ranked Mavericks blanked the Chargers in Mankato to remain in first place in the WCHA. McKay improved to 16-5-1 and had started 22 of MSU’s 30 games to this point in the season.

• • • •

Minnesota State University goalie Dryden McKay watches the puck rebound away from the goal after making a save during a game against Lake Superior State on March 16, 2019. McKay's statistics say he's the best goalie in the country. His ultimate goal this season, though, is to backstop the Mavericks to an NCAA tournament victory and a chance at a national championship. (File photo by Jackson Forderer / The Rink Live)
Minnesota State University goalie Dryden McKay watches the puck rebound away from the goal after making a save during a game against Lake Superior State on March 16, 2019. McKay's statistics say he's the best goalie in the country. His ultimate goal this season, though, is to backstop the Mavericks to an NCAA tournament victory and a chance at a national championship. (File photo by Jackson Forderer / The Rink Live)

MARCH 16, 2019

MSU 2, Lake Superior State 0: For the second time this season, McKay shuts out Lake Superior State, this time with bigger stakes. McKay’s fourth career shutout gave MSU a sweep of a WCHA semifinal series against the Lakers and allowed MSU to host the WCHA postseason championship game against Bowling Green a week later. MSU fans likely need little reminding of what happened in that game: Jake Jaremko and Conner Mackey scored in the final 104 seconds of regulation, then Nick Rivera won it in OT.

2019-20 Season

OCT. 12, 2019

MSU 5, Arizona State 0: The Mavericks and McKay capped an impressive opening-weekend home sweep against the Sun Devils with a 5-0 win. McKay stopped all 14 shots he faced in the game and 39 of the 40 he faced on the weekend. The MSU defense also held ASU to an 0-for-5 night on the power play. The sweep moved the Mavericks up a spot in the national poll, from No. 3 to No. 2.

Minnesota State University Mankato goalie Dryden McKay stops a shot on goal by Arizona State's Johnny Walker during the first period Friday, Oct. 11, 2019, at the Mankato Civic Center in Mankato, Minn. Jason Wachter/The Rink Live
Minnesota State University Mankato goalie Dryden McKay stops a shot on goal by Arizona State's Johnny Walker during the first period Friday, Oct. 11, 2019, at the Mankato Civic Center in Mankato, Minn. Jason Wachter/The Rink Live

• • • •

Nov. 8, 2019

MSU 3, Michigan Tech 0: McKay was the undisputed star of this game, making 31 saves at Houghton, Mich. — the most saves he has ever recorded in a shutout — while helping No. 3-ranked MSU improve to 7-1-1. Tech brought the heat in the third period, when McKay had to make 16 saves to preserve his sixth career shutout.

• • • •

NOV. 23, 2019

MSU 3, Alaska Anchorage 0: This was the fifth game in a remarkable stretch of nine consecutive games in which McKay and the Mavericks held opponents to zero or one goal in a game. McKay made 20 saves in this one — nine in the first period — in Mankato. MSU improved to 10-1-1 overall and held the No. 1 ranking in the country.

• • • •

DEC. 7, 2019

MSU 2, Lake Superior State 0: McKay continued his dominance against Lake Superior State, stopping 21 shots and shutting out the Lakers for the third time, in Mankato. Marc Michaelis scored in the second period, and Jake Jaremko sealed the win with a goal with 2:43 to go in the game.

• • • •

DEC. 29, 2019

MSU 2, Bemidji State 0: This was a big bounce-back game for McKay and the Mavericks, in the third-place game of the Mariucci Classic at the University of Minnesota’s Mariucci Arena. The night before, McKay was pulled after St. Cloud State scored five times against him in just more than 27 minutes of game time, a game that ended with SCSU on top 7-2. Against rival Bemidji State, McKay returned to form, stopping all 18 shots he faced and improving to 15-2-1 that season as a starter.

• • • •

JAN. 3, 2020

MSU 4, Alaska 0: This victory marked the first back-to-back shutouts of McKay’s college career, and the fewest saves he has made in a shutout. MSU was not a friendly host for the Nanooks, holding them to just seven shots on goal in the game, including just two over the final 40 minutes.

• • • •

JAN. 10, 2020

MSU 5, Ferris State 0: Just more than halfway through his sophomore season, McKay etched his name in the MSU record books with this shutout at Ferris State. He made 19 saves in the win, giving him his 11th career shutout (tying MSU’s career record) and his seventh of the season, passing Cole Huggins for the most shutouts by an MSU goalie in a season.

• • • •

FEB. 8, 2020

MSU 1, Northern Michigan 0: A month after tying Cole Huggins’ program record for career shutouts, McKay surpassed him with a 22-save blanking of Northern Michigan in Mankato. His 12th career shutout set a career record at MSU and extended his single-season shutout record to eight.

• • • •

FEB. 21, 2020

MSU 10, Alabama Huntsville 0: McKay was called upon to stop just 11 shots in this late season game in Mankato. No. 3-ranked MSU outshot the Chargers 54-11. McKay needed to make just four saves in the first period, two in the second and five in the third period. Marc Michaelis had a goal and two assists in his return to the lineup after missing seven games with a foot injury.

• • • •

FEB. 22, 2020

MSU 8, Alabama Huntsville 0: MSU completed an impressive sweep of the Chargers by blowing them out for a second consecutive night. McKay made 19 saves in this one, to record shutouts in three consecutive games for the first time in his career. Nick Rivera had a hat trick and Marc Michaelis scored twice.

2020-21 Season

NOV. 22, 2020

MSU 5, Bemidji State 0: In a long-awaited season-opener, after delay after delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mavericks controlled play from start to finish at Bemidji, blanking the Beavers in a non-conference matchup. The reigning WCHA Goaltender of the Year made 21 saves, including 10 in the third period. Reggie Lutz scored twice and Julian Napravnik, Andy Carroll and freshman Jake Livingstone scored once each.

• • • •

DEC. 7, 2020

MSU 2, Michigan Tech 0: McKay and the Mavericks bounced back from a 3-1 loss in their second game of the season by holding Tech to nine shots through two periods and 19 in the second game of a two-game series, played on a Monday, at Houghton. Todd Burgess and Cade Borchardt scored for No. 6-ranked MSU.

• • • •

JAN. 2, 2021

MSU 5, Northern Michigan 0: No. 5-ranked MSU improved to 4-1-1 as McKay made 16 saves, including 10 in the first period, as the Mavericks won the opener of a two-game series at Marquette. McKay’s 17th career shutout moved him into a tie for eighth place on the NCAA’s all-time shutouts list, with Minnesota Duluth’s Hunter Shepard. Five players scored once each for the Mavericks in the win.

• • • •

JAN. 3, 2021

MSU 4, Northern Michigan 0: McKay moved past Shepard into seventh on the NCAA all-time shutout list after making 21 saves to blank the Wildcats on their home ice for a second consecutive day. This game marked McKay’s fourth shutout of the season in just his sixth start. He improved to 5-1-0 and the Mavericks were 5-1-1 at this point.

• • • •

JAN. 15, 2021

MSU 3, Lake Superior State 0: Julian Napravnik and Wyatt Aamodt scored in the second period to get the No. 4-ranked Mavericks on the board and McKay took care of the rest, making 23 saves to notch his fifth shutout of the season and 19th of his career. For the second time in his career, McKay recorded shutouts in three straight games and this one moved him into a tie for fourth on the all-time Division I shutouts list.

• • • •

JAN. 23, 2021

MSU 4, Ferris State 0: McKay needed to turn aside just 11 shots in this one, as No. 2-ranked MSU cruised to a win on its home ice. His 20th career shutout moved him up one more spot, to third, on the NCAA career list.

• • • •

Minnesota State goalie Dryden McKay (29) stops a shot on goal against against Bowling Green in the first period Friday, Feb. 5, 2021, at the Mayo Clinic Health System Events Center in Mankato. (Jason Wachter / The Rink Live)
Minnesota State goalie Dryden McKay (29) stops a shot on goal against against Bowling Green in the first period Friday, Feb. 5, 2021, at the Mayo Clinic Health System Events Center in Mankato. (Jason Wachter / The Rink Live)

FEB. 5, 2021

MSU 4, Bowling Green 0: In the opener of the most anticipated series of the season, McKay was on top of his game. He made 30 saves in the game, including 11 in each of the first and third periods. The game was scorless midway through the second period, but Nathan Smith scored at the 12:45 mark, then Dallas Gerads made it 2-0 five minutes later. Walker Duehr and Riese Zmolek added third-period goals. MSU went on to sweep the series convincingly, winning the next night 5-1.

• • • •

FEB. 12, 2021

MSU 5, Alabama Huntsville 0: McKay stopped 16 shots in the series finale at Huntsville to pass former Bemidji State goalie Michael Bitzer for the most shutouts in WCHA history (22). McKay also moved into second place all-time on the NCAA career list, with only former Michigan State star Ryan Miller (26 shutouts) ahead of him. McKay improved to 13-1-0 on the season, with eight of his 13 wins being shutouts.

• • • •

MARCH 12, 2021

MSU 3, Ferris State 0: Against an overmatched, but gritty Ferris State team, MSU won its playoff opener in Mankato. McKay made 15 saves for his ninth shutout of the season.

• • • •

MARCH 28, 2021

MSU 4, Minnesota 0: In what may be the most memorable shutout of McKay’s MSU career — certainly in the memory banks of Mavericks fans — the junior goalie blanked in-state rival Minnesota in the NCAA Division I West Region final in Colorado. McKay stopped 22 shots, including 13 in the third period, as the Mavericks picked up the biggest win in program history, a win that sent them to the Frozen Four for the first time ever. Sam Morton, Ryan Sandelin, Nathan Smith and Dallas Gerads all scored for MSU.

2021-22 Season

OCT. 2, 2021

MSU 2, UMass 0: Season opener in the defending national champions’ home barn. UMass raising its banner in front of close to 8,000 fans, the first time either team had played in front of a full house in more than 18 months. MSU was the team that looked poised and ready. MSU’s defense limited the Minutemen to 18 shots on goal, and McKay stopped them all to notch his 25th career shutout and his first against a No. 1-ranked team in the country.

• • • •

OCT. 8, 2021

MSU 1, St. Cloud State 0: For a second straight week, MSU played a home opener in front of a loud crowd, though this time it was on their own home ice. The Mavericks didn’t disappoint, holding off the Huskies to mark three consecutive wins against teams that played in the national title game the previous season. This as a matchup of No. 1 vs. No. 2, as both of these teams were ranked No. 1 in one of the two major national polls, and both were ranked No. 2 in one of the polls. Nathan Smith scored the lone goal of the game, on a power play with 1:05 to go in the second period. McKay made that hold up by stopping all 20 shots he faced to tie Ryan Miller for the most shutouts in a career by a Division I goalie.