I’ve spent a great deal of time in Canada lately for business. I’ve been through Vancouver, Montreal, and Calgary and am beginning to become accustomed to the chilly weather, abundance of beer, and fantastic restaurants.
Currently, I’m in Calgary for business and the talk of the town, as it should be, is the Grey Cup.
For the U.S. readers out there, the Grey Cup is the CFL (Canadian Football League) version of the SuperBowl.
A bit of history
The Grey Cup (in French: La Coupe Grey) is both the name of the championship game and the name of the trophy awarded to the victorious team. Like the Stanley Cup used in the National Hockey League, the Grey Cup is reused every year.
Today, the Montreal Alouettes took on the Saskatchewan Roughriders and the end result was a win for Montreal with a score of 28-27.
Click through to read the game recap from the Canadian Press
CALGARY — Given a second chance Damon Duval made no mistake and kicked the Montreal Alouettes to a Grey Cup championship.
Duval connected on a 33-yard field goal on the final play of the game to give the Alouettes a 28-27 comeback victory over the Saskatchewan Roughriders in a thrilling CFL championship Sunday.
The Alouettes, outplayed for much of the game, erased a 16-point deficit in the final 10 minutes with touchdowns by Avon Cobourne and Ben Cahoon, plus Duval’s boot with time run out on the clock.
It was his second attempt at it. He missed his first try but a Saskatchewan penalty for too many men on the field gave Duval another opportunity.
The victory ended a run of Grey Cup woes for the Alouettes and quarterback Anthony Calvillo, who won only a second Grey Cup in seven championship games since 2000. They also ended a four-game losing streak in the Grey Cup with their sixth title overall.
The Roughriders failed in a bid for a second Cup in three years.
Montreal was a heavy favourite after a team-record 15-3 season in which they had both the best offence and defence in the league, but the West Division champion Roughriders turned the tables with a tight defensive effort and balanced attack that had the McMahon Stadium crowd in a roar.
Roughriders quarterback Darian Durant had run in a 16-yard TD to give Saskatchewan a 27-11 lead with 10 minutes to play, but Calvillo hit Brian Bratton on the Roughriders three and Cobourne ran it in. A two-point convert that cut the lead to eight was followed by a Jerald Brown interception to set up another drive capped by Cahoon’s score.
Montreal got the ball back with 50 seconds to play and a completion to Kerry Watkins set up the wining score.
Darian Durant threw one touchdown to Andy Fantuz and ran in himself for another, Luca Congi had four field goals and Louie Sakoda kicked a single for Saskatchewan, which succeeded in running the ball through tailback Wes Cates and Durant.
Calvillo also threw a TD to Jamel Richardson while Duval added another field goal and a single for Montreal.
McMahon Stadium was abloom in Roughriders green on a mild evening that was 8 C at kickoff and the sell-out crowd of 46,020 was buoyant as Saskatchewan used two Montreal fumbles and a shanked punt to take a 17-3 half time lead.
Their first drive ended in a missed Congi field goal, but he made good on the next one from 40 yards moments later.
Late in the first quarter, Marcus Adams stripped the ball from Calvillo and big Keith Shologan lumbered to the Montreal eight. On the next play, Durant found Fantuz open in the end zone on a slant pattern for a 10-0 lead.
The Alouettes looked to have their offence back on track as a pair of passes to Cahoon set up a 28-yard Duval kick early in the second quarter. They were pressing again but missed a chance to add to their score when fullback Kerry Carter fumbled on the Saskatchewan 17.
Then the usually reliable Duval shanked a second punt in a row – this one travelling only seven yards. Congi turned that into a 44-yard field goal and Sakoda followed with a single on the ensuing kickoff.
On the next-to-last play of the half, Durant found Fantuz on the Montreal two – a play that stood up after video review showed he stayed in bounds – and Congi closed the half with a nine-yard field goal for a 14-3 Saskatchewan lead.
The three points was the lowest first half total of the season for the Alouettes, who saw Calvillo struggle to find early to find the range with his passes.
He had no such trouble to open the second half, leading a nine-play, 74-yard drive in which he used tailback Cobourne liberally that was capped by an eight-yard TD pass to Richardson. It gave Calvillo a record nine career Grey Cup TD passes, passing Bernie Faloney, Russ Jackson and Danny McManus.
Durant marched back, but Billy Parker picked off a pass at the Montreal five. Undaunted, Durant led another drive for a 23-yard Congi boot late in the third quarter.
The Alouettes reached their seventh Grey Cup since 2000 with a 56-18 blowout win over B.C. last week, while the 10-7-1 Riders downed Calgary in the West final. Both teams were playing their 17th Grey Cup game.
Notes: Cahoon got the 18 yards he needed to pass former Alouette Hal Patterson’s record of 580 receiving yards in career Grey Cup games. The record had stood since 1964. . . . Montreal and Regina played in the 1931 Grey Cup, but it was Montreal A.A.A. and not the Alouettes who won 22-0. . . . Montreal special teams tackler Paul Waldu, a Regina native, was not in the lineup, while rookie J.P. Bekasiak dressed as a back-up offensive lineman in place of Shawn Mayne. . . . The ‘Riders scratched Hugh Charles, Clifton Washburn, Kevin Scott and Joe Sykes.