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YANDLE PLAYS IN FRONT OF RECORD CROWD

Friday, 05.07.2010 / 6:10 PM / Features
By Dave Vest
Felix Schutz scored a goal 21 seconds into overtime to give host Germany a 2-1 win over the United States on Friday in front of a record ice hockey crowd of 77,803 fans in the opening game of the IIHF World Championship tournament at Gelsenkirchen.

Keith Yandle
Paired with Team USA captain Jack Johnson, Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle logged 22:32 of ice time and took four shots on goal.

“Playing in this atmosphere was a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Yandle told phoenixcoyotes.com via telephone after the game. “Their fans are unbelievable. It was like what you would expect at an elite soccer game. It was definitely very fun to be a part of.”

The attendance figure for the game, which was played within a soccer stadium, broke the previous world record of 74,544 spectators who saw a U.S. college game in 2001 at East Lansing, Mich.

Yandle said the crowd was very boisterous.

“You really couldn’t hear much out there,” Yandle said. “You couldn’t hear the whistles and you couldn’t hear your teammates. It was really, really loud. And when the puck went up in the air you couldn’t see it because of the way the rink was set up. It was pretty tough to play in. When there are 77,000 people screaming and yelling against you, it was definitely a test for us.”

A record crowd of 77,803 fans watched U.S. vs. Germany at the Veltins Arena in Gelsenkirchen, Germany on Friday. (Photo by Getty Images.)
He added, “Their crowd was great but I don’t think they figured in the outcome of the game. Their team played pretty good and I think our team played a pretty good game also. We took it to them in the third period. Both teams fought hard.”

Team USA ousthot Germany, 32-20, including 14-5 in the third period. Ryan Carter of the Anaheim Ducks scored the goal for the Americans.

Next up for Yandle and Team USA is a game against Denmark on Monday.

“We still have an opportunity to play some good hockey here and win some games,” Yandle said. “This was a lesson learned for us.”

While he was disappointed, Yandle didn’t let the loss completely spoil the experience of playing for his country on such a grand stage.

“Any time you can represent your country it’s a great honor,” Yandle said. “Putting that sweater on is pretty special. This is a special time for me.”

The 16-team tournament runs until the championship game on May 23.
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