These Alouettes believe

WES GILBERTSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:37 PM ET

CALGARY — Jamel Richardson missed the majority of training camp in June with pneumonia, but his teammates kept telling him something was different about this version of the Montreal Alouettes.

When the smooth-talking slotback finally returned to the fold for a season-opening win over the defending champion Calgary Stampeders at McMahon Stadium, he saw it with his own eyes.

“In Week 1, you could just feel it. When we came into Calgary and blew ’em out, you could just sense it — everyone believed,” Richardson said. “That was big. We never beat (the Stampeders) last year and, as a team, that’s what we wanted to do. And we wanted to do it in a good fashion, to blow ‘em out.”

Turns out, that 40-27 victory over the Stamps was just the first of many. The Alouettes set a franchise record with 15 regular-season wins and walloped the B.C. Lions in last weekend’s East Division final.

Now, Anthony Calvillo & Co. are back at McMahon Stadium for Sunday’s Grey Cup title fight against the Saskatchewan Roughriders, and they’re eager to finish what they started.

“We have unfinished business and this here is a business trip,” Richardson said. “We have one thing to get and that’s the Grey Cup.”

When the Alouettes arrived in Calgary for their Canada Day showdown with the Stamps, they were forced to relive the details of last year’s Grey Cup defeat in their own building and answer the same old questions about whether their aging group could maintain their usual spot among the CFL’s elite.

They answered the bell in a big way, scoring on their first two offensive possessions of the game and forcing a couple of crucial second-half turnovers to cement the victory in what cornerback Davis Sanchez referred to earlier this week as a “statement game.”

“That was a real big test for us and there was a sense of urgency,” agreed veteran defensive end Anwar Stewart. “

We knew that we could go out and play with those guys and we showed that.

“(The Stampeders) are a great team and we wish we could’ve maybe played them again here — that would’ve been an awesome rematch — but we just want to go out and play Saskatchewan like we have all season.”

Just two weeks after spoiling the Stamps’ season-opener, the Alouettes silenced the fans at Mosaic Stadium with a 43-10 thrashing of the host Riders. They also beat Gang Green on their home turf and will try to make it three in a row with a victory Sunday in the season finale.

Prior to leading his troops onto the field for a snowy practice session Friday afternoon, Alouettes coach Marc Trestman told reporters there’s plenty of parallels between the season-opening victory over the Stamps and Sunday’s Grey Cup game.

Whether they’ll be able to achieve the same result remains to be seen.

“We knew we had to have an edge to beat a great football team in their house,” Trestman said. “And essentially, we’ve got to do the same thing. We’ve got to beat a great football team this weekend in what is essentially going to be their house. We understand that, and we’re going to have to have an edge to get us going the right direction.”


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