ORONO, Minn. (WCCO) — In Minnesota, there’s nothing like the atmosphere, excitement and pressure of high school playoff hockey. That is, unless, you’re Orono’s David McCuskey.
In his high school hockey postseason career, McCuskey is averaging three goals a game. He’s only played one, but it was a good one.
“I just really like to win. I guess I’m pretty competitive out there,” McCuskey said.
In the sophomore’s first playoff game on Friday night, one of the team’s best players hurt his shoulder and had to leave the game in the first period.
“Just kind of stepped in there and started filling in,” he said.
In his first year of high school hockey, and with no playoff experience, McCuskey was suddenly in a prominent role in the state playoffs.
And in the midst of all that pressure, he scored a hat trick.
Orono Head Coach Kasey Yoder says that feat says a lot about McCuskey.
“We played Hermantown early in the year at home and David had probably his best game of the season. And we had a feeling,” Yoder said. “You know, he rised up in what we considered a big game early, that we had a feeling that he might do the same here tonight and it was good to see him do that.”
But McCuskey says he would trade all three of those goals if it meant getting into the state tournament, where Orono hasn’t been since 2006.
“Obviously [with] our school size, we’re not really used to going to the state tournament, and it’d be really a great experience to go,” he said.
Orono is the number-two seed in the Class A Section 2 tournament, and they face third-seeded Bloomington Kennedy in the section semifinals Tuesday night.