Departing from Big Rapids at 4 a.m., the fans on the bus willingly sacrificed sleep and endured a 12-hour bus ride just to see their Dawgs take the ice on one of hockey’s biggest stages in the Xcel Energy Arena.
“I woke up at twenty minutes to three this morning. Ouch,” says Laurie Lown, a lifelong hockey fan. “It made it much easier to go back to bed on the bus at least, so it wasn’t all bad.”
Being trapped in a confined space with a group of sleep-deprived individuals could be a recipe for disaster, but spirits were high throughout the bus ride. People caught up on missed sleep, spontaneous card games broke out, and one individual even streamed some March Madness action on her laptop, much to the other riders’ delight.
Of course, no long distance road trip would be complete without a minor crisis or two, and this case was no different. At one point during the trek, it seemed that the bus carrying Ferris State’s pep band was breaking down, and would be stranded on the side of the road.
“I’ve been in the military and we always had setbacks like this, so we just have to roll with the punches,” Lown says. “The trip wouldn’t be as memorable if there was no disaster.”
However, the issue was resolved and the fans arrived safe and sound, but more importantly, they arrived on time to watch some Bulldog hockey.
“I’d really like to see the Bulldogs win. I’m hoping that Minnesota St. Is looking past us, and just looking ahead to the winner of the next game, thinking that Ferris just snuck in,” says seven-year fan veteran Thad Braun. “I’m hoping we’ll be like Charlie in the chocolate factory. Minnesota will think we’re just happy to be there, but really we want to be here, and we want to win it all.”
Lown’s prediction of the upcoming game was similarly optimistic.
“I expect this to be the biggest upset of the season! It’s a little intimidating to play the second best team in the country right in their backyard, but they play the game for a reason. Anything can happen,” Lown said.
Now that Ferris State support has arrived, the Dawgs will hope to take down No. 2 Minnesota State, beginning at 8:37 p.m. If the Bulldogs were to upset MSU, they would play the winner of a Bowling Green vs. Michigan Tech matchup in the WCHA Championship tomorrow.
If they’re unable to earn the win against Minnesota State however, then the ride back to Big Rapids on Sunday will seem just that much longer.