NHL game held outdoors in stadium; Pittsburgh defeats Buffalo in shootout

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

The game was held in Ralph Wilson Stadium, home of the NFL's Buffalo Bills.

On New Year's Day, the Buffalo Sabres and Pittsburgh Penguins of the National Hockey League played in the AMP Energy NHL Winter Classic, an outdoor game held at Orchard Park, New York's Ralph Wilson Stadium. This was the second outdoor game in league history and the first outdoor game held in the United States.

The Penguins won the game 2 to 1 after a shootout in which Sidney Crosby made a goal between the legs of goalie Ryan Miller to win it. Colby Armstrong of the Penguins scored 21 seconds into the game, and Brian Campbell scored the lone goal for the Sabres in the 2nd period.

A temporary ice rink was built on the field at Ralph Wilson Stadium, which normally hosts games played by the National Football League's Buffalo Bills.

Sidney Crosby, who made the winning goal for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Snow and heavy winds were prevalent throughout the game, and Zambonis were brought out to clear the ice in the middle of each period. The temperature was around the freezing point when the game began at 1:20 p.m. ET.

Several rule changes were in effect in order to lessen the impact of the weather on gameplay. These changes included stopping play in the middle of the 3rd period to allow teams to switch sides and dividing the overtime period into two 2:30 segments. In the shootout, the goalies were allowed to choose which side to defend, with both choosing the same side.

The attendance for the game was 71,217, beating the record of 57,167 at the Heritage Classic, another outdoor game which was held in 2003 between the Montreal Canadiens and Edmonton Oilers. Two of the Edmonton players in the Heritage Classic, Georges Laraque and Ty Conklin, played for Pittsburgh in the Winter Classic.

Tickets to the game were made available to the general public on September 18, 2007; all 41,000 were sold out within 30 minutes.