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Hockey

Little man living large

Colorado's Drury coming through in clutch

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Posted: Tuesday June 01, 1999 02:02 AM

  Stretching his talents: Chris Drury extends every bit of his 5-foot-10 frame to post huge plays for the Avalanche. Brian Bahr/Allsport

From Little League to NHL, Chris Drury just keeps on winning.

Ten years after he pitched Trumbull, Conn., to the Little League World Series title, Drury has helped put the Colorado Avalanche within one victory of the Stanley Cup finals.

With game-winning goals in Colorado's last two wins and four in the playoffs, Drury has tied a rookie record set by teammate Claude Lemieux.

"I haven't thought about it," he said after the Avalanche skated on Monday. "I don't look at it as a personal thing. We just won a couple of big games and now we have another big game coming up."

Drury scored the overtime goal against Dallas that tied this semifinal series at 2-2 and then connected twice, including another game-winner, as the Avalanche won Game 5. Now, Colorado can finish off the Stars on Tuesday night at home.

"We have to go for the next step," Drury said. "We're home and we don't want to go back there."

All of this hero stuff is nothing new to Drury. The spotlight hit him a decade ago in the 1989 Little League World Series.

"I remember it like it was yesterday," Drury said. "It was a big thrill, a lot of fun."

Taiwan had won three straight Little League titles when the kids from Trumbull ended that run on a five-hitter by Drury, who also drove in two runs in the clinching victory.

"We were never nervous or scared," he said. "We got on a roll and the next thing we knew, we were on television, playing in front of a crowd of 40,000. I'm still in touch with two or three of those guys."

Drury played college hockey at Boston University, where he set the school scoring record. He led BU to an NCAA championship and won the Hobey Baker Aaward -- college hockey's Heisman Trophy.

He was drafted in the second round in 1994 and showed up in training camp last September as an undersized center who could play all three forward spots.

At 5-foot-10 and 180 pounds, he was viewed as small -- by everybody except himself.

"I am who I am," he said. "There are some big guys in this league and it's an adjustment, but I've managed."

He had 20 goals and 24 assists in his rookie season, with nine of his goals tying or winning games. He is a finalist for the Calder Trophy as Rookie of the Year.

And about that size thing. Well, when Drury pitched Trumbull past Taiwan, he was 5-foot-1 1/2 and 126 pounds. It didn't stop him then and it's not exactly stopping him now.

 
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Chris Drury is the big man for Colorado.
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