After Michigan freshman defenseman Jon Merrill opened the scoring in Saturday’s “Big Chill at the Big House” college hockey game between Michigan and Michigan State in Ann Arbor’s Michigan Stadium, the eruption that he heard from the record crowd of 113,411 was more than overwhelming.
“I blacked out …. I don’t even know,” said Merrill, who also got the game’s second goal.“… so much excitement. It was crazy.”
That set the tone for Michigan’s 5-0 win over the Spartans in the game that set the world record for the most people to ever watch a hockey game.
The mark had been 77,803, who watched the U.S. play Germany last May 7, in an International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship game at Veletins Arena in Germany
That broke the record that had previously been held by Michigan and Michigan State at “The Cold War” at East Lansing’s Spartan Stadium on Oct. 7, 2001, when 74,544 watched the two teams skate to a 3-3 tie.
There was even an adjucator from Guinness World Records on hand at Michigan Stadium on Saturday to make things official.
The attendance total was announced and shown on the scoreboards during a stoppage of play in the third period of the game.
“I think we all got goosebumps … the crowd was going crazy,” said Michigan senior forward Carl Hagelin, who had two goals and an assist. “…The coach was clapping his hands.”
And any observer of Wolverines’ head coach Red Berenson knows he rarely claps his hands … about anything.
“Pretty good show … eh?,” Berenson asked after the game with a smile.
Michigan usually plays its home games at Yost Ice Arena, which holds 6,637. Saturday’s total was more than 17 times that amount.
“I played in a couple good atmospheres but nothing close to that,” Merrill said about Saturday’s game.
Despite the lobsided loss, it will also be a mostly pleasant memory for Michigan State.
“Ten years from now, I’m probably going to remember the most fun I’ve ever had on the ice,” Spartans sophomore defenseman Torey Krug said. “Look at these 22-year-old men and they’re like little kids.”
Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon said outdoor hockey games at Michigan Stadium could become a semi-regular thing.
“I can see, potentially, getting into a four-year cycle, where every athlete who plays here has the chance to play in one,” he said.
Osgood wins 399th career game
Chris Osgood made 33 saves in the Red Wings 4-1 win over the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night at Newark’s Prudential Center.
The win left Osgood one short of 400 wins for his career.
Detroit’s top line did most of the damage as Pavel Datsyuk ahd a goal and an assist and Henrik Zetterberg and Tomas Holmstrom each recorded a goal and an assist. Danny Cleary also scored.
The Red Wings host the Los Angeles Kings on Monday night at Joe Louis Arena in a 7:30 p.m. contest.