Fargo Turns Out To Be Anything But Neutral
When the NCAA announced the sites for the 2015 Ice Hockey Regional Tournament in December of 2013, it didn't take a genius to envision Scheels Arena in Fargo being overrun with green-clad UND fans.
Indeed, UND earned a top seed in 2015 after winning the regular season National Collegiate Hockey Comference and were placed in Fargo along with St. Cloud State, Michigan Tech and Quinnipiac.
Tickets went on sale in October and were quickly snatched up by optimistic NoDak fans, whose fait paid off. Any tickets that were sent back by out-of-state teams were available to the general public, provided you could make it to the box office in Fargo to buy them in person.
The listed capacity at Scheels is 6,000. St. Cloud State was allotted 400 tickets and quickly sold out, and Michigan Tech appeared to travel about 100 fans to Fargo. Attendance by anyone from Quinnipiac was spotty at best.
That means there were over 5,000 UND fans in the seats, with several hundred more lined up outside the gates hours before the game to occupy the entirety of the standing room only spots behind the nets.
Despite gaining 5,000 new fans who rooted against conference rival SCSU, Michigan Tech could not overcome SCSU, who earned a 3-2, overtime win.
After North Dakotas win over Quinnipiac, coach Dave Hakstol mentioned the environment as a factor in the win.
"It's pretty special, obviously, to play in this environment," Hakstol said. "We really embraced that and tried to use it to our advantage."
When asked about the crowd and atmosphere before the winner of UND and Quinnipiac, SCSU coach Bob Motzko was realistic.
"We will either have a true, neutral site game tomorrow against Quinnipiac.... Or we have a road game against North Dakota," Motzko quipped.