Kyle Myers | Ticats.ca Staff
GUELPH -- Just five days ago, the Tiger-Cats were flying high, riding the momentum of a two-game winning streak against the Toronto Argonauts into a matchup with the Montreal Alouettes. Unfortunately for Hamilton, that game didn’t go quite as planned, with the Ticats on the wrong end of a 36–5 result in Montreal.
“We didn’t play the type of ball we’re expected to play, especially in that situation where we had a chance to lock up a home playoff game,” said quarterback Henry Burris. “Now we’ve made things harder for ourselves, we’ve given them confidence that they can come in and beat us.”
But it’s not all doom and gloom in TigerTown, as Burris was adamant that a loss can never affect a player’s confidence in himself, or in his teammates.
“It just makes us focus in more,” he said. “You say the looks on a lot of guy’s faces after that game, a lot of lessons were learned. We can either make this a good thing or a bad thing, and I know that our team is going to make it into something positive going forward.”
It’s no surprise that Burris’ optimistic outlook was closely echoed by his mentor, head coach Kent Austin.
“You have setbacks, welcome to the game of life.” Austin said. “The most important thing is what did we learn from it, and how do we respond?”
Responding is something that the Tiger-Cats have done well this season. After Hamilton’s last loss, the Ticats roared back to life the following week by travelling into Toronto and handing the East Division leaders their first loss in five games before returning to Guelph and winning their second straight.
“Our team has always responded positively in these situations,” said Burris. “(Montreal) is going to come down that highway and they’re going to be ready for us. If we go out there and play our game things will take care of themselves.”
What is most important at this juncture in the season is that despite the loss, The Tiger-Cats still control their playoff destiny. With the Montreal season series now knotted at one win a piece, Saturday’s rematch has become even more crucial, as the winner will likely have home-field advantage for the East Semifinals in a month’s time.
“It’s playoff time, every game matters,” said linebacker Jamall Johnson. “They’re a divisional opponent, someone we’ll likely see in the playoffs at some point. We’ve got to go out and put our foot down in front of our home crowd, and show that the team that showed up last week isn’t the team they pay to see.”