Thursday, December 28, 2017
Nolan Arenado's walk off game winning homer for the cycle is #1 on my "Top Ten Colorado Sports Moments of 2017" (photo courtesy of MLB) Here's this year's list:
10. Avalanche 4 NY Rangers 2, Opening Night, 10/5/17 - The 2016/17 season was one to forget for the Colorado Avalanche. "The 22-56-4 record, for 48 points, not only was by far the franchise’s worst in its 21 seasons in Denver, it was the worst in the NHL since the 1999-2000 Atlanta Thrashers went 14-57-7-4 for 39 points," as reported in the Denver Post. The surprising win on the road in the season's opener, on the league's biggest stage (Madison Square Garden) signaled that better times were ahead for the Avalanche. While the Avs are still out of a playoff position at year's end (17-16-3 as of 12/28), the team is on the upswing and the opening night win against the NY Rangers was a start to a much better season.
9. Nuggets 96 Golden State 81, 12/23/17 - I had my top ten list all set then the Nuggets worked their way into my list with a stunning road win against the defending champ Warriors just before Christmas. The win stopped Golden State's 12 game winning streak.
8. Avalanche trade Matt Duchene, 11/5/17 - It was no secret Matt Duchene, the #3 pick overall in the 2009 draft, wanted out. Duchene demanded a trade over a year ago, and Avs GM Joe Sakic received much criticism as Sakic failed to make a deal over the many months of Matt's discontent. But in the end Sakic got a great haul for Duchene - promising young defenseman Sam Girard, other prospects, and a bunch of draft picks. After the trade Nathan MacKinnon stepped up his play to become one of the best players in the NHL this season. Well done, Joe Sakic!
7. Gary Kubiak resigns as Broncos head coach, 1/2/17 - Just one year after winning the Super Bowl, Gary Kubiak resigns as Broncos head coach. Any Bronco coaching change is big news, and this one was more of a shocker given the success the Broncos had achieved under Kubiak.
6. Rockies 2, LA Dodgers 1, home opener, 4/7/17 - The first of four Rockies moments on my list. The Rockies home opener is always a special event on the Denver sports calendar, and this win was extra sweet as home town boy Kyle Freeland wins his first ever start in the majors in front of a sellout crowd at Coors Field.
5. Broncos 42, Dallas 17, 9/17/17 - The only Bronco game on my top 10 list. Everything went right for the Broncos this day as they beat America's team (the Dallas Cowboys) in an early season stunner. The season as a whole was a big disappointment for Denver fans, but at least for one day the Broncos were the talk of pro football with this dominating performance.
4. DU Pioneers 3, Minnesota-Duluth 2, National Championship Game, 4/8/17 - The DU hockey team wins its 8th National Championship with a narrow, nail-biting 3-2 win over Minnesota-Duluth. The Pioneers stellar 2017 and championship gave Denver hockey fans something to cheer about in lieu of the Avalanche' disappointing season.
3. Rockies 3, Atlanta 0, 8/14/17 - In his first game back after a cancer diagnosis in the spring, Rockies starter Chad Bettis pitches seven shutout innings at Coors Field to defeat the Braves. Bettis comeback and amazing performance made news beyond baseball, inspiring many whose lives have been affected by this debilitating disease.
2. Rockies 10, White Sox 0, 7/9/17 - Rockies starting pitcher Kyle Freeland's second appearance on my list, as he takes a no hitter into the 9th inning against the White Sox. Freeland ends up pitching a one hit gem in what I rate as the best performance by a Rockies starter at Coors Field ever.
1. Rockies 7, San Francisco 5, 6/19/17 - In front of a packed Father's Day crowd at Coors Field, Nolan Arenado hits a 3 run homer in the bottom of the 9th to give the Rockies a come from behind win over the Giants. If that weren't dramatic enough, Arenado's blast also completed the cycle for the Rockies 3rd baseman, only the 8th cycle in Rockies history. The playoff bound Rockies were the top story in Colorado sports in 2017, and Arenado's performance this day was the highlight of an outstanding season.