04-11-2008: news-local

By JAMES ZIEGLER
Bismarck Tribune

Game night, and the Fighting Sioux are in the Frozen Four. Fans swarm like sharks to an injured fish.

The excitement is apparent before even getting through the doors of Buffalo Wild Wings. Maybe it's the packed parking lot or something in the air that just reeks of hockey excitement. Going green has never been so fun.

In the building, the air is electric before the game has even begun.

"We're gonna kill 'em," Miles Mittler says. "It should be a fast-paced game."

The game is everywhere, with almost life-sized players skating across seven big-screen TVs. Almost every wall is University of North Dakota vs. Boston College.

Mittler has been a fan of UND "forever," but others in the room are more recent converts.

"I went to UND in '87 and just fell in love with hockey," says Guy Kline.

He predicts, "The Sioux should win this; they'll have a hard time in Michigan, but they should win it tonight."

But it wasn't to be for the Sioux and their boisterous Bismarck fans Thursday evening. Boston proved too tough for the Sioux, beating them 6-1.

It was still a night to remember for the fans.

Packed wall to wall, the bar is a riot. Cow bells are going off with every play. An inhuman roar is constant from the crowd. Every other shirt is the green, white and black of a Fighting Sioux jersey. But a side room holds a different picture.

Walking into the room, every set of eyes is intent on the one big screen. The silence is overwhelming. To disturb it would be an act on par with desecrating a church - the church of UND hockey.

In the bar, one gets used to the noise. The roar and swell of the crowd when Boston scores the first point of the game comes as no surprise.

In the side room, when this "gentler group" erupts with barking screams at a missed shot that would have tied the game, it would shake even the sturdiest of souls.

Every body in the room leans in even closer to the gigantic screen for the instant replay.

Needless to say, the fans are psyched.

"Sioux all the way! That's all I've got to say," Jon Benzinger says.

Despite Boston's 2-0 lead early in the game, optimism still reins supreme with this crowd.

"I'm looking forward to the Sioux winning it," Zach Ronning says.

(James Ziegler is a Bismarck State College student. He can be reached at 302-0822.)



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