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  • Chamber and Symphonic Orchestra Concert on May 8th at 7:00pm in the Coronado Auditorium
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Colorado’s Avalanche Skates into Big Win Over Winnipeg’s Jets

Game Four of the First Round in the Stanley Cup Playoffs between the Avalanche and Jets
Colorado Avalanche’s #13, Valeri Nichushkin scores a goal against the Winnipeg Jets. Image courtesy of the Denver Gazette.

On April 28th, 2024, at the Ball Arena in Denver, Colorado, an outstanding hockey game occurred. The National Hockey League (NHL) has one of the most prestigious awards in all of sports, the Stanley Cup, engraved annually with the names of every player on a team when they win. More than 3,400 names are engraved over the 100 years the same cup has existed, and every year, 16 teams qualify for playoffs, and then fight in a bracket system for the cup. There are four rounds of the playoffs, each round between two teams with a first-to-four winning style, and the fourth round being the series for the cup.

In the first round, the Colorado Avalanche faces the Winnipeg (Canada) Jets. The series had gotten off to a shaky start with a 7-6 Jets win over Avalanche, but quickly recovered with both 5-2 and 6-2 Avalanche wins over the Jets before the game on Sunday. The first period began, and at 11:50 remaining in the first, Avalanche scored a goal from Artturi Lehkonen. Shortly after, with 6:04 remaining in the first, the Jets tied the game 1-1 with a goal from Nate Schmidt, the last goal in the first period.

In the second period, with 8:24 remaining in the second, Valeri Nichushkin scored his first goal of the night, bringing the Avalanche ahead with a 2-1 lead over the Jets. After that, at 4:57 remaining in the second, Cale Makar had a breakaway goal, bringing Avalanche into a comfortable 3-1 lead over the Jets. As the period was winding down, Nichushkin was able to make his second goal with 27 seconds remaining in the second period, bringing the Avalanche to a 4-1 lead over the Jets.

Throughout the game, Chad Knox, a long-term hockey and avid Avalanche fan, made a comment about the state of the referees on the ice, who had made horrible calls and completely missing obvious penalties. “I don’t know what the refs are getting paid to call the Ave’s game today but it’s too much,” giving some feeling as to how bad the calls were. However, it didn’t deter the Avalanche, and they persevered through to continue playing well.

Near the end of the period, the Jets pulled their goalie to get an extra player on the ice, leaving their net empty. Several times during this period, the Avalanche got a breakaway, but didn’t score as they had a plan in mind, and that plan was Nichushkin. As Chad Knox says, “The Aves [are] not taking the shot on an empty net so Nichushkin can get his hat trick!” And get a hat trick he did, with 13 seconds remaining in the game, Nichushkin was able to get a breakaway and make a shot from the other side of midline to score his third goal of the game. This was his first hat trick in his career, and the goal carried the Avalanche to a 5-1 win over the Jets, giving Colorado a 3-1 lead in the first round.

The Avalanche made the victory complete with a 6-3 win over the Jets on April 30th, winning the series and eliminating the Jets. Colorado has now advanced to the second round and will play whoever wins the series between the Dallas Stars versus the Vegas Golden Knights, which currently stands at Dallas 3, Knights 2.

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