It was just a CCHA conference game, but of course it was much more than that. A record crowd of 113,411 watched Michigan down Michigan State 5-0 yesterday as Jon Merrill and Carl Hagelin each scored two goals. The game was the most attended event in Michigan Stadium, the most attended hockey game ever, and the most attended NCAA event ever.
The game featured weather in the 40s, not spectacular of course, but they got to play some of the third period under the lights, and the atmosphere was great. I couldn’t find any pictures of it, but the hat that Rick Comley was wearing was awesome, and while there were mixed reactions, I loved Michigan’s throwback sweaters.
The action on the ice was pretty physical for the most part, as you would expect from a rivalry game, and while the ice definitely got a little soft towards the latter part of the game, I don’t think it upset the flow of the game too badly if at all. As I mentioned before, Jon Merrill scored the first two goals of the game. It was the first time I had seen him all year, and even beyond the two goals looked like an incredible player who will most certainly be on the WJC team. Michigan’s other WJC hopeful, forward Chris Brown, didn’t have a great game offensively but got some nice pressure on the forecheck and played well defensively as well.
The attendance was nice, the game getting on Sportscenter was nice (although having Jalen Rose do analysis kinda sucked) and the attention that the game of college hockey will get from it is a success. Obviously you can’t do an outdoor game bigger than this one, but I am more than open to future outdoor college hockey games, especially if they do them even half as well as the Big Chill.