It was a great day for hockey for a couple of Joe’s Thursday night in Denver.

It was a great day for hockey for a couple of Joe’s on Thursday night in Denver.


After honoring one of its own, retiring the jersey of future Hockey Hall of Famer Joe Sakic in a special pregame ceremony, the Colorado Avalanche handed its new head coach Joe Sacco his first National Hockey League victory with a stunning 5-2 upset over the San Jose Sharks.


One of the top-ranked teams in the NHL, the Sharks were clearly out-hustled by the up-start Avs from the opening face-off. Wojtek Wolski scored a pair of goals, while tough guy Cody McLeod added the eventual game-winner early in the second period. Colorado goalie Craig Anderson made 38 saves en route to the victory in front of a sellout crowd of 18,007 at Pepsi Center.


Not bad a bad start for a team that finished dead last in the Western Conference last year.


"It was just a unique night," Sacco told the Denver Post. "It started off with a bang, obviously, with a lot of energy in the building and a lot of excitement. Joe was a special player obviously. And then it just kind of carried over."


A former Medford High Mustangs and Boston University Terrier, Sacco, 40, enjoyed a 13-year professional hockey career playing for five different NHL organizations including the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, New York Islanders, Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers. He scored 94 goals and 119 assists in 738 NHL games before retiring as a player in 2003.


 


Sacco began the next phase of his hockey career in 2005-06 as an assistant coach for the Lowell Lock Monsters, an affiliate of the Avalanche.


After serving as two years as an assistant, Sacco was named head coach of the Colorado's new AHL franchise, the Lake Erie Monsters, May 7, 2007. Sacco led the Monsters for the next two seasons before promoted as the head coach of the Avalanche, June 4.


 


Sacco will return home as the Avalanche face-off against the Boston Bruins on Oct. 12 at the TD Garden at 1 p.m.


Contact Christopher Hurley at churley@cnc.com.