The Calgary Stampeders are headed back to the site of their last Grey Cup win with a weight off their shoulders.
The West Division champions leave for Montreal Tuesday without the proverbial monkey that was on their backs the past three seasons with first-round exits.
Henry Burris threw a touchdown pass to Ken-Yon Rambo and ran for another score as the Stamps beat the B.C. Lions 22-18 yesterday at McMahon Stadium in the West final.
They will face the Montreal Alouettes in the Grey Cup next Sunday at Olympic Stadium.
"For the entire team, we needed this," Burris said. "We earned this over our four-year stint here."
It was the defence and special teams that came up big for the home side in front of a soldout crowd of 35,650.
Defensive end Mike Labinjo had three sacks, two huge tackles for losses on a goal-line stand in the third quarter and another key forced fumble that swung the momentum in the Stamps' favour.
It was Calgary's fourth win over the Lions this season .
"It was probably fitting," Stamps safety Wes Lysack said. "I wouldn't have it any other way than beating B.C. You talk about cliches but they've been a thorn in our side for three years.
The Lions had to settle for six Paul McCallum field goals and scored no touchdowns, despite dominating the time of possession in the first half.
Running back Stefan Logan piled up 130 yards on 18 carries, and Ryan Grice-Mullen and Geroy Simon had 100-yard receiving games. But that meant nothing because the Stamps tightened up on defence
"We defied all odds this year. When we were told we couldn't win, we won said Stamps slotback Nik Lewis. "I want that Cup. We're coming into your place Montreal. It won't be easy, but we're going to get it."
After a lacklustre first half offensively, Burris hit Rambo with a 22-yard touchdown pass to make it 12-9 at the break. The Stamps had just 76 net yards to that point.
The Stamps finally took control in the final frame, as Burris capped an eight-play, 69-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown plunge to make it 22-15.