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Sports

January 2, 2014

Maple Leafs edge out Red Wings

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — A lot of winter. Very little classic hockey.

Tyler Bozak scored the winning shootout goal and Jonathan Bernier made two saves in the heart-pounding final moments, lifting the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 3-2 victory over Detroit at the snowy Winter Classic in front of the largest crowd to watch a hockey game.

The announced attendance yesterday of 105,591 surpassed the 104,173 who saw Michigan and Michigan State skate in the same football stadium known as the Big House in 2010.

The game began with temperatures in the low teens and steady snow that didn’t stop on a windy afternoon, leading to the sixth Winter Classic being much more of an event than a game.

It was, though, a closely contested spectacle.

Detroit captain Henrik Zetterberg appeared to have good chance in overtime with the puck in the Maple Leafs’ end and defenseman Cody Franson on his left side. The horn, however, sounded to stop play at the 2:30 mark of the extra period so that both teams played into a 10 mph wind for an equal amount of time. The game also was halted midway through the third period so that the teams could switch sides.

In the shootout, skaters for both teams attempted shots with the wind in their face toward the same net — or end zone.

The game-time temperate was 13 degrees with a wind chill of zero. The average temperature of the previous five Winter Classics was 39 degrees, and the average attendance was 53,045.

A slew of skaters with shovels cleared significant amounts of snow during early stoppages in play, but players still had a tough time pushing the puck through piles of the white stuff.

The struggling yet storied franchises did their best to put on show in the league’s annual showcase in awful conditions.

Joffrey Lupul, who might face discipline from the NHL for a cross-check that knocked Patrick Eaves out of the game in the first period, scored the first of two goals for the Maple Leafs in the shootout.

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