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ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Tyler Bozak scored the game-winning shootout goal to turn the Winter Classic into a Winter Wonderland for jubilant Toronto Maple Leafs fans.
The crowd was announced at 105,491, which would break the world record of 104,173 for a hockey attendance, set in 2010 at the Big Chill at the Big House game between Michigan State and Michigan.
However, Guinness has not confirmed whether the announced crowd has been verified for the world mark.
Pavel Datsyuk had scored in the shootout to give Detroit a lead, but Joffrey Lupul tied it. When Tomas Tatar missed, Bozak had the opportunity to be the hero for the raucous Toronto faithful
Detroit winger Justin Abdelkader, a Michigan native, scored at 14:28 of the third period to send the game into overtime.
Amid snowy, cold weather conditions, Toronto center Tyler Bozak took ice conditions out of the equation by deflecting a puck out of the air for a goal that gave Toronto a 2-1 lead.
Bozak's stick was just below crossbar height when he touched Dion Phaneuf's shot from the point and directed it past Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard at 4:41 of the third period.
The Red Wings said 35,000 to 40,000 tickets were sold to Toronto fans, but the number of blue jerseys in the stands suggested it was closer to a 50-50 split or even a slight edge to Toronto faithful.
It was a festive atmosphere. By 10 a.m., there were already thousands of fans around the Big House.
The average temperature for Winter Classics has been 39.1 degrees, but it was around 13 degrees when the game started.
When left wing James Van Riemsdyk batted a puck out the air and over Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard to tie the game 1-1 with 36.5 second left in the second period, the Toronto ovation was thunderously loud.
Daniel Alfredsson had given the Red Wings a 1-0 lead by converting a centering feed from Detroit captain Henrik Zetterberg. The puck went off Alfredsson's skate, but it was ruled a good goal because he had not directed the puck with his skate.
Snow fell throughout the game, and the league's ice guru Dan Craig might have been the game's most important player as he supervised the shoveling of snow at every opportunity.
Weather service estimates were that the snow was falling at a rate of one-half inch per hour.
Given the wintry conditions, the combined 69 shots by the two teams was noteworthy