Rogers, O-for and out

IAN BUSBY, CALGARY SUN

, Last Updated: 10:28 AM ET

HAMILTON -- The mere mention of the Calgary Stampeders' recent record at the Rogers Centre makes them as ill as standing out in the Ontario heat.

The Stamps haven't won in their past six visits to Toronto but, if you add it all up, they are actually 3-16 in the last 19 visits to Ontario cities, which includes trips to Steeltown and Ottawa.

So the odds are stacked against the Stamps as they try to rebound from Sunday's horrible 49-8 beating at the hands of the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

If there are answers as to why the Stamps can't seem to buy a victory in Toronto, where they play tomorrow (5 p.m., TSN), the players themselves don't have any.

"It's a long trip and for whatever reason we've had those struggles," said offensive lineman Jay McNeil, one of only three players remaining from the last Stamps victory in Toronto, Sept. 28, 2000.

"After losing that bad on Sunday, there are no excuses. We have to come out and play really hard."

"It has been a long time. We went 10 years without winning in Montreal and we've won there twice in a row. It's bound to change sometime here. I can't see why it won't be this week."

Since head coach Tom Higgins took over as head coach in 2005, the Stamps have played well enough to win at Rogers Centre but lost two close games.

Higgins said it will take an extreme effort and a bit of a luck to beat the Argonauts with only one practice, which was yesterday in searing 34-degree heat at McMaster University.

"Toronto has a pretty good club," Higgins said. "The last couple of years we didn't have a great team but we've gotten better and have started to compete with them.

"Hopefully, we'll close the gap. It would be miraculous with a short turnaround."

Argonauts right guard Taylor Robertson, who Toronto got in a trade with the Stampeders this off-season, has seen things on the other side and still can't figure it out why the Stamps are cursed in Hogtown.

Robertson played the second game of his career in Toronto at the end of 2003 and lost four times at the former SkyDome as a member of the Stamps.

"I don't know if it's the off-the-field distractions," said Robertson. "You don't want to think that but maybe it is.

"We never prepared differently. It was a regular road week. It's always close, so it's not like Calgary comes out here and gets crushed. They don't seem to like the dome."

What makes the losses in Toronto worse is for the Stamps players who grew up in Ontario. Last year, centre John Comiskey had to find 66 tickets for friends and family. He lived for 10 years around the area and he was still searching for more ducats yesterday.

But Comiskey doesn't see that as a distraction or the team would have more trouble winning at home.

"Of course, when you have family around, you want a great outcome but it makes no difference whether we're playing in Calgary, or B.C. or here," Comiskey said.

He added he has no solution for breaking the string of losing in Ontario.

"I can't tell you because I don't have a crystal ball. Our coaches gave us a great scheme for the game and put us in a great position to win."

While the Stamps are tired of hearing how they don't win in Toronto, Michael (Pinball) Clemons doesn't like to hear it either.

"All I know is that worsens the odds for us," said the Argos coach. "We have to work even harder than I thought.

"You can't hold a good team down for long.

"We don't try to ask the question why, especially when it's not appropriate."

STAMPEDERS

ARGONAUTS

TOMORROW, 5 P.M.

ROGERS CENTRE, TSN


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