Final Score
Jets: 3
Bismarck: 1

Brady, Camo, Dan

Game Highlight
The fiasco following both of the Jets' second goals

The last two journal entries have given a lot of space to the peculiar spelling tricks that the ticket office has been playing with the Bobcats. Rather than dwell on an issue that's seen its time come and go, I'm just going to make this one statement in passing. If you doubted the power of before, you won't any longer. After two months worth of tickets that contained the misspelling, the passes on Saturday had "Bismarck" correctly spelled on them after a week of public ridicule on a web page that the office is rumored to be reading. After this quick shot of power hit my veins, I went outside and gave a scathingly condescending speech from my deck, but I attracted only a case of uncomfortably cold hands instead of the passionate zealots I was hoping for.

It didn't matter, though, because I have the fuzzy memories of Saturday night's game to keep me company. As if inspired by the antics of the fans in Detroit, but probably more likely inspired by the elixirs at the beer garden, the crowd was rowdy and clearly Jets-partisan. This is a landmark thing to point out. Last year the games at the Coliseum were like second home games for the Bobcats. Sure, you had the stalwarts like us and a few other regulars who backed the Jets, but mainly the Bismarck crowd would overwhelm the building with their chanting, screaming, and Jacque Lamouroux jerseys. (You might be thinking that this Lamouroux character is from France. But you're wrong, he's from Grand Forks. That's even worse)

On this night, though, the Bismarck fans didn't stand a chance. While they were there in number, they didn't raise their voice because there wasn't any hope of being heard. The Jets for the first time that I had witnessed, had a crowd that was outrageously vocal to the point that the building finally saw the Jets have a home game versus Bismarck for the first time ever. This was through no doing of my own, though. The sickness that BismarK brought me a week earlier was still lingering in the form of a lost voice. So instead of yelling my support, I sat there like a half-mute gesturing wildly enough that I'm sure most people felt good watching the mentally handicapped boy in row seven cheer for his favorite hockey team. The rest of the fans didn't need me, however, because they produced a clear score of:

This score is somewhat of an injustice because if the limits of the scale were a true US one hundred, the crowd on this night would have had a voting majority.

The Game

American Idols

The Pounder

The Cougher
Now I made mention last week about how the game versus BismarK was awesome. If that game was awesome, then to describe this night's contest, take any scene you've ever called "awesome" in your life and throw Bill & Ted in there. It was THAT awesome. Things started off in typical "watch the Jets totally outwork the Bobcats for the first period but have little to show for it" fashion. The tally of 1-0 in favor of the Jets looked way too shaky to last and of course it didn't, as the Bobcats tied it in the second period. I remarked to Dan that I think the Coliseum ice slants to the south, because the Bobcats always turn it on in the second and never look back. It appeared that we were heading that way but...

Things started to shift when Bob Preece, the baddest mofo this side of Leroy Brown, got into some fisticuffs. Knowing full well that Preece was not somebody you want to mess with unless your name is "Tony Twist," the girl he was fighting attacked Preece before Bob could get his own helmet off. Startled but not fazed, Preece rallied to put the guy down in an unpolished, but indisputable victory. Then Bob Preece went nuts.

I'm not sure what happened or what was said, but Preece was totally enraged when the ref was leading him to the penalty box. Then he started yelling through the glass at his opponent vociferously enough that Preece was led right back out of the box and into the showers. I have no idea what the specific reason was that got him sent packing for the night, but the crowd got completely pissed off and Bob Preece further cemented himself as a guy tough enough to wear a pink shirt in public and get away with it.

The crowd responds to what appears to be the Jets' second goal
In the third, on the heels of a few cheap shots both ways and some nice acting jobs by Bismarck, the game was 1-1 when the Jets scored a go-ahead goal. Then the goal got called back on a two-line pass and you could feel the arena start to rumble. The fans were angry and they weren't going to stand for it. Not more than a few minutes later, Joe Schuster scored his second goal of the night and the place erupted. While fake-screaming and watching the Pounder stick his hand inside the protective net and flick off the goalie, I saw a beer bottle come flying onto the ice.

Hilarious of course. Chaos to be sure.

Instantly Johnny Law was on the case trying to figure who was responsible. Some old people who had no business and plenty of regrets for being in the detox section pointed out some kids that they apparently thought might have done it. Now, I have no clue if they did or not. But I do know that when the cop started yelling at them and looking at what they had in their possession, I went "Whoa, I don't think they sell THAT in the beer garden" to the anonymous cool cat next to myself. "That" was in reference to the nice bottle of peppermint schnapps that made these gentlemen had, which made the detox section even more "spirited" than it normally would have been.

One of my metacarpals responds to that goal being called back
The beer bottle in protest was funny. But if they had thrown the schnapps bottle onto the ice, it would have been humor rarely produced by the human race.

Instead, the guys got forcefully escorted out the door by the police all to a raucous chant in the detox section that sounded something like "Pull Schmitt" but probably wasn't. The main accused offender even got a high-five from a scratched Jets player sitting in front of us who will remain anonymous so that he won't be deluged with fan mail for his memorable antics.

It was sad missing a third of the final period of a great game, but the drama in the seats was too exciting not to pay full attention to. The Jets put home a "kick to the balls" goal with an empty-netter at the end of the game and sent the Bobcats home silent, defeated, and scared of the monster that is slowly growing at the John E. Carlson Coliseum.

Other Notes

There are a couple of other things that are definitely worth mentioning here about the game. First of all, the crowd was huge. I don't know who's getting paid what or what markets the team is tapping into, but the crowds have been significantly bigger this year so that is tremendous.

Secondly, the two resident idols were back in their usual roles. The Cougher was not only back in the building, but he was moving the nets and clearing his lungs like the old pro he is. Then the Glass Pounder made his triumphant return to the Coliseum, staking out his pane, pounding like crazy, and giving the universal sign language to Bismarck when appropriate. And it should be noted that his nickname has now been officially reduced to "The Pounder" due to the double-connotation and witty ring it posses.

Third, I made mention that the guy sitting next to me was a "cool cat" and that was because he pulled a great move in the hyper-intense third period. When the game was still 1-1 and the crowd was blowing its top, a puck came careening into our section. He caught it and without hesitation, fired it right back onto the ice. It was spontaneous genius that made me feel completely inferior and not worthy of his presence.

Fourth, the guys behind us were unreal. I didn't need to do any yelling on this night because these guys had the whole building covered. In the first period, one let out an f-bomb and quickly shut up because he felt bad about it. But after two periods and many frequent trips to the nearby watering hole, all bets were completely off. In addition to questioning the sexual orientation of the Bobcats and their supporters four times in fifteen seconds, he was quick to yell at the Bismarck fans who wanted him to shut up. He was also probably feeling pretty emboldened since he had twenty-nine Fargo fans and one Fargo player around him laughing at his inebriated ranting. He never quit yelling, even when the cop was in our section, and that's just the kind of team spirit I like to see. And for those few people who were offended, I've said it before and I'll say it again: There are three quality sections in the Coliseum for families to go where the crowd is friendlier and the seats are often more comfortable. If you choose to sit ten steps from the beer garden, you get what comes with the territory.

And finally, not only did the two guys with the booze bottle get tossed, another guy got booted after throwing some paper onto the ice from the "good seats" at center ice. I had never seen anyone get thrown out, much less two people, but that only means that the crowd was hot, intense, and worthy of a big salute from this humble and mostly-voiceless hockey fan.

All in all, a very memorable evening. Camo was attending his first Jets game on this night. I think it's safe to assume that it won't be his last.

The Leonardite 2004
Dedicated to The Stick