“Five Guys In Milwaukee,” which appears daily on USCHO during the NCAA championships, is Scott Brown’s travelog of a weekend at the Final Four.
Thursday, March 27
8:03 a.m. It’s awful early to be up, as far as I’m concerned. Dave doesn’t seem to have a problem with it, though — I suspect he’s the result of some secret breeding experiment to create a race of untiring superhumans. Cheery ones. Very sick.
8:26 a.m. I do get up. We’re supposed to meet Paula and Ed downstairs and go to breakfast someplace. None of us really know where to go, and we forget to tell Frank, who’s still in his jams when meeting time rolls around.
10:07 a.m. Paula and Ed are indeed downstairs, so we walk down to a local pub. The place is starting to fill up with college hockey fans, including one guy in a Michigan State jersey who intermittently gets up with some bizarre percussion instrument and belts out standards like “Roll Out The Barrel.” The crowd approves.
11:33 a.m. With the restaurant now absolutely packed with people — wearing shirts and hats and pins of all stripes, we figure it’s time to go. The first semifinal is at noon, local time.
11:38 a.m. The Bradley Center is a beautiful venue. Bright, airy, big, the works. Someone tells us that it was originally built specifically for hockey, and it shows. Tim, Lee and I are in the nosebleed section, about fifteen rows back in the upper level.
12:07 p.m. They drop the puck for the UND-CC game. Tim is expecting a blowout, but I’m hoping the Tigers can hold the Sioux in check and make a game out of it.
2:15 p.m. Tim is right. UND scores three goals in the first before CC battles back to 3-2 early in the second, raising the hopes of the largely nonaligned crowd. But the Sioux get two back almost immediately, and go on to win 6-2.
5:22 p.m. Tim, Lee and I try to get into the sports bar across the street from the hotel, but it’s a standing-room only crowd. We go around the corner to a little Chinese restaurant instead.
6:38 p.m. We come flying into the Bradley Center. The TV monitors stationed all around the building show that the game is already underway, though only a minute or two has gone by.
6:43 p.m. The energy level of the crowd is totally different from the earlier game. BU has come out playing physically, and the arena roars with each hit. Despite the significant Michigan contingency, the crowd is solidly pro-Terrier. A lot of them seem to have come out in the hopes that BU can take out the defending champs. “Anyone but Michigan!” some guy in the back hollers.
7:30 p.m. The BU band has learned “On Wisconsin,” and is applying it shamelessly in an effort to rally the locals. It’s working, although a lot of their other selections feel like circus music.
9:10 p.m. In the third, BU is up 3-1. Brendan Morrison decides to make it (still more) interesting, swatting it past Larocque on a six-on-five to bring Michigan within one with less than a minute to play.
9:10:01 p.m. The Michigan band plays “Hail to The Victors,” surprisingly for only the fifteenth time.
9:15 p.m. BU hangs on despite a total inability to clear the zone, and the game ends with a roar from the audience. “Bye-bye, Blue!” shrieks the guy in the back. The Michigan fans are not pleased, but anticipate some measure of redemption at the Hobey Baker presentation tomorrow.