The Grey Cup matchup to determine Canadian Football League supremacy is set, and redemption will be the theme when the Montreal Alouettes try to defend their title against the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
The championship’s 98th edition will be held at Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium next Sunday and is a rematch of last year’s dramatic and memorable affair, when Montreal kicked a field goal with no time left on the clock to beat Saskatchewan 28-27.
The Alouettes will be looking to become the first team to win consecutive Grey Cups since the Toronto Argonauts in 1996 and 1997.
To do that, they will have to go through a Roughriders team that had the title all but wrapped up last year before their Grey Cup dreams were crushed by a late penalty.
Montreal missed a last-second field goal, but was given a lifeline after officials spotted an extra Roughriders player on the field. The Als made good on their second chance to clinch the one-point victory.
Sunday’s 20-16 win over the Calgary Stampeders in the West Division final provides the Roughriders with an opportunity to try and erase the pain from that bitter ending.
Roughriders coach Ken Miller knows his team will be in tough against the Montreal, which is a perennial power in the East.
“(Montreal is) a tremendous football team,” he said. “We have our work cut out for us. There’s no doubt about it. We’ll work hard and be eager to play in a week.”
The Roughriders aren’t the only ones with something to prove. While the Alouettes are making their eighth Grey Cup appearance since 2000, they have only come away with two wins in the big game during that span.
Montreal is going to Edmonton on a high note after pummelling the Argos 48-17 in the East Division final.
“It’s an emotional feeling to keep doing what we’re doing,” said Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo. “To get back and have another chance for a championship is a special feeling.”
The Alouettes finished the regular season atop the East with a record of 12-6, second only to Calgary’s 13-5 mark to lead the West.
Saskatchewan was second in the West at 10-8, while Toronto was third in the East at 9-9.
The Roughriders last won the Grey Cup in 2007, when they beat the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 23-19 in Toronto.