Ference earns pay

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 2:35 PM ET


 For most of the time, Andrew Ference had to feel he was skating in quicksand.

 Still, when the final buzzer sounded on Tuesday's 4-1 victory, the Calgary Flames defenceman had racked up 27 minutes two seconds of ice time. That's an amount usually reserved for Robyn Regehr but, in the Stanley Cup final opener, the unheralded Ference was the ice-time leader.

 "It's been that way through the playoffs," he said. "It's gonna be one of us four with the top ice time. We're all getting our share and it's a matter of getting that good rhythm."

 In his case, that came early.

 Calgary essentially used a five-man defence throughout the contest, with Mike Commodore the odd-man out, skating in only 3:25 worth of action. And Ference played nearly 12 minutes in the opening period.

 "I prefer not to have played him that much," said GM-head coach Darryl Sutter.

 "I think if you look at the first period ... that was too many minutes but just the way the five-on-five and the way the matchups were, that changed after the first period. His minutes came down after that."

 Despite the extra exhaustion that comes from playing that many minutes in the humidity of the St. Pete Times Forum and on the arena's soft ice, Ference was more than happy to log the time.

 "At this point, recovery's not the biggest concern on your mind," he said. "That's one of the last thoughts on my mind."


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