November 6, 2022

Ticats unable to find the spark they were after

The Canadian Press

MONTREAL — Orlondo Steinauer was looking for a spark.

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats’ head coach had watched his team fall behind 22-6 at the half against the Montreal Alouettes, on a day where a packed Molson Stadium was an ocean of noise, threatening to swallow up any and everyone in Ticats’ gear.

So Steinauer opted to make a change at quarterback and turned to his backup and former Montreal Alouette, Matthew Shiltz and pulled Dane Evans.

“It was just for a spark, that’s it. We weren’t able to put the ball in the end zone,” Steinauer told reporters after his team’s season-ending 28-17 loss. “(It was) something we’d talked about and we were only able to punch it in once.”

» Through The Lens: Eastern Semi-Final pre-game
» Through The Lens: Hamilton at Montreal in the ESF
» Recap: Als down Ticats to advance to Eastern Final
» Watch: Shiltz makes instant impact as he connects with Dunbar


Evans made 7-10 passes for 123 yards with an interception and was taken out of the game after leading the first drive of the third quarter. Shiltz went in and finished the game, making 11-19 passes for 127 yards, a touchdown and an interception.

Shiltz said that despite the 16-point halftime deficit, there was a belief that they could get back into it.

“I think you’ve seen a lot with this team that a lot of people have counted us out throughout the season and we fought back. This would be no different,” Shiltz said.

“We’ve seen everything you could have seen in a CFL season and from our perspective it was a two-score game and we were right there. They just had more points when the time ran out.”

The Ticats got within eight with 2:31 left in the game, but Shiltz took a tremendous hit from Als’ defensive back Tyrice Beverette and lost the ball. Linebacker Chris Ackie recovered and the Als ended up adding a 12-yard David Cote field goal to put the game out of reach.

Shiltz said that the Ticats’ resiliency — they survived an 0-4 start and sat at 3-9 at Labour Day before rallying to make the playoffs — would be part of how he remembered this year’s team. It’s not the only memory, though.

“The biggest takeaway is that we didn’t get to where we wanted to be,” he said. “At the end of the day that’s the biggest goal is to get wins and to win the Grey Cup.”

The Ticats’ loss marks the end of a successful run that saw them win the East Division in 2019 and in 2021. Knowing that the road stops here at the Eastern Semi-Final for them hurts.

“It feels terrible,” Steinauer said. “It’s something that we’re not accustomed to, don’t want to get used to it. Today we didn’t execute well enough to move on in the playoffs. Emotionally it’s tough. It’s new for us…but right now it’s reality.”

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