Faceoff

Photo Credit: Rafael Gutierrez/The Paisano

The ice flew, bodies were checked into glass and the red light behind the goal was lit up as NHL hockey made its presence felt in San Antonio on Friday night.

A crowd of 7,762 were part of AT&T Center history as the Dallas Stars defeated the Florida Panthers, 4-1.

In what was promoted as the “NHLinSA,” the Panthers and Stars participated in a week long hockey promotion, culminating in the first-ever NHL hockey game played in the AT&T Center.

The Stars came away with the victory as left wing Antoine Roussel scored two goals in the first and second period and had one assist to pace the Stars. Centers Colton Sceviour and Chris Mueller each had a goal in the third period to seal the win for the Stars.

The Panthers outshot the Stars 29-28 in the loss. Tom Gilbert scored the only goal for the Panthers at the 3:43 mark of the third period when he hit a snap shot past Stars’ goalie Dan Ellis.

“We knew the crowd was going to be good. Just from playing here I knew that the fans were pretty supportive regardless of the result,” Panthers center Drew Shore said. “You got to thank them for coming out and showing their support.”

Despite the loss, Panthers coach Kevin Dineen was pleased with the turnout and participation of all three teams.

“I thought it was fabulous. This is such a great affiliation,” Dineen said. “I think the Florida Panthers feel very fortunate to be associated with the San Antonio basketball team here, as well as have our minor league team here. It’s a great partnership for us and obviously tonight was a good reflection of that.”

The fans in attendance looked to be divided as many sported Panthers, Stars and Rampage jerseys throughout the crowd.

“A great turnout and a good mix,” Dineen said. “Some Dallas fans understandably but certainly saw a lot of Panthers jerseys out there as well.”

Panther’s players who suited up and have played for the Rampage franchise included Dov Grumet-Morris, Eric Selleck, Quinton Howden, Jed Ortmeyer, Jared Gomes, Colby Robak, Alex Petrovic and Shore.

Selleck and Stars left wing Luke Gazdic provided some early fireworks in the first period as the two exchanged body and head shots in the only fight of the game.

This was the third NHL game to be played in San Antonio. In 1994 and 1995, the Stars played two exhibition games against the Los Angeles Kings held in the Alamodome.

The promotional events during the week included a stop on Thursday at the Intrepid and the Warrior and Family Support Center, where Panthers players Erik Gudbranson, Shawn Matthias, Mike Weaver and Joey Crabb visited and signed autographs with Wounded Warriors.

The Rampage will being the 2013-14 season on Friday, Oct. 4, when they face the Chicago Wolves at the AT&T Center.

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