HAMILTON — It has been a tough week for Sandro DeAngelis.
First, Hamilton’s prized free-agent acquisition was publicly dissed by his former Calgary Stampeder teammates. And then on Saturday, DeAngelis had to swallow a pair of missed field goals — which equals his worst day in the CFL.
And then to top it off, the Niagara Falls native had his 59-yard prayer (as time expired) blocked.
So a happy day for Nik Lewis, the Calgary receiver who did the majority of the dissing and the Stampeders who improve to 2-0 with the 23-22 win.
But it’s a tough one to swallow for a Ticats team that has just about used up all of its currency in potential with back-to-back losses to start the year.
How bad did it get for the Tabbies yesterday?
Well consider their first offensive series didn’t come until about 10 minutes were gone in the game. At that point, they were locked in a 7-7 tie thanks to yet another huge special-teams play from Marcus Thigpen who scored his third special-teams touchdown of the young season on a 93-yard punt return.
Calgary answered right back with a Romby Bryant touchdown, but for most of the afternoon, the game was in Hamilton’s favour.
A few bounces here or there, a few calls here or there, even one more successful kick could have put this one out of reach early. But the Ticats didn’t get the calls or the bounces and because of that they will spend the next week agonizing over the many missed opportunities in this game.
DeAngelis, who missed two field goals in a game for only the eighth time in his six-year CFL career, knows sleep will not be coming easy for him in the next few days.
“I just have to bounce back from it,” the former Stampeder said. “It’s all you can do. I mean no one ever expects you to be perfect, you just have to be Steady Eddie and today, I wasn’t Steady Eddie. I wasn’t my usual self and I have to get back to the drawing board and fix whatever wrongs I had in the game.”
Head coach Marcel Bellefeuille gave DeAngelis every opportunity possible, but his faith was not rewarded.
“Well, you know, we brought him in here to make those types of plays for us and to give us consistency and I’m sure he will,” Bellefeuille said choosing his words carefully.
“Today, it looked like he had a tough day ... but he’s a great kicker and I’m sure he will bounce back.”
DeAngelis missed from 35 yards in the first quarter and again from 43 in the third quarter.
Bellefeuille spent a good deal of his post-game media gathering carefully selecting his words whether it was describing DeAngelis’ day or the day the officials had.
“I just want consistency and I didn’t get it today,” Bellefeuille said when asked specifically about the way the game was called.
Asked in a follow-up question whether he was referring specifically to the referees, Bellefeuille covered his tracks saying, “I’m talking about everything.”
Both teams were whistled for seven penalties in the game, but the announced crowd of 25,248 at Ivor Wynne were clearly unhappy with a handful of non-calls on passes intended for Arland Bruce that the one-time Argo simply wasn’t allowed to get near because the Stampeders coverage was so tight.
But to put all of this loss on the officials is to ignore the three tries — two of them from the Stamps’ one-yard line, the other from the two with five minutes left in the game — that the Ticats failed to punch in.
Worse still, the Stamps then went 14 yards, 15 yards, and 37 yards on the next three plays to erase any field advantage the Ticats might have had coming their way.
“We had opportunities that we didn’t capitalize on, plain as that,” Ticats quarterback Kevin Glenn said.
The three shots from within the two-yard line weren’t even something Glenn felt able to address 20 minutes after the game had finished.
“Very frustrating,” he said of the three attempts which included a DeAndre’ Cobb run from the two to the one-yard-line, a stuffed quarterback sneak by No. 3 quarterback Adam Tafralis, and an incompleted pass to Bruce on third down.
“It’s one of those things I don’t even want to talk about right now it’s so frustrating,” Glenn said.
Even after missing that golden opportunity, the Ticats used a nine-play, 72-yard drive to get DeAngelis in line for a 21-yard field goal that the hard-luck kicker converted for a one-point Hamilton lead with just 1:10 remaining.
Bellefeuille said he felt confident his defence would be able to hold the Stamps down, but Calgary quarterback Henry Burris marched his offence 59-yards in exactly one minute — a drive aided by a reckless piling on penalty assessed to Ticats all-star linebacker Jamall Johnson that put the Stamps in field-goal range for the winning kick delivered by Brampton native Rob Maver.
“It’s just not going the way we would like right now,” Glenn said with the understatement of the day.