Cold comfort for Bombers

Winnipeg Blue Bomber fan keeps warm while watching the Bombers in action against the Calgary...

Winnipeg Blue Bomber fan keeps warm while watching the Bombers in action against the Calgary Stampeders at Canad Inns Stadium in Winnipeg on Saturday. (Winnipeg Sun/Jason Halstead)

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:10 AM ET

The weather outside may be frightful come Nov. 5.

And that would be just delightful for the home side should Winnipeg play host to the East Division semifinal.

Because the Blue Bombers beat Calgary -- the second-place team in the West -- by a convincing 28-13 score on Saturday, they can secure their first CFL home playoff date since 2003 with a victory over the first-place Lions in B.C. this Saturday.

"That's our biggest win this year, man -- at the right friggin' time, too," Winnipeg defensive lineman Doug Brown said after the Calgary match. "We've beaten a very high-calibre, high-quality opponent and that's what we need to do to have an advantage and an edge in playoff time if you're going to have that kind of field advantage.

"Nobody wants to come to Winnipeg in late October or early November so, we're going to have to tap into that."

In fact, the homefield turf was a sheet of ice for one game around this time back in 1991 -- the first year Winnipeg hosted the Grey Cup -- and the Bombers had to play a regular-season game against the Edmonton Eskimos on a field that was reduced in size. That prompted one creative Edmonton Sun reporter to refer to it as Winnipeg's "home-ice advantage."

"I know nobody wants to come and play in Winnipeg because we don't even want to play here," said slotback Milt Stegall. "But we get to practise in it so, that makes it a lot easier. It would be real nice to get a home playoff game, not only for us, but for these fans. They've been here for this organization.

"It's not going to be an easy task. B.C., they have nothing to gain but they're not going to go out there and sit down on us. They want to go into their bye week -- because they won the West -- with a victory so, it's not going to be easy. But it's good right now that we can control our own destiny."

But it is not life or death.

"Not at all," said Bomber head coach Doug Berry. "It's something we'd like to do but we're in the next game no matter what. We play well on the road so, if we win, it's great for the Winnipeg fans but it's not a win-all, lose-all thing for this football team."

The Bombers, however, were intoxicated by their own success Saturday.

"We're peaking," declared tailback Charles Roberts. "Our offence is playing amazing and our defence is playing just as well. This is the CFL and once you get into the playoffs, it's anybody's game. Right now, I feel confident in the fact that we're playing the best football in the CFL right now. We got a monkey off our back and won a home game finally, and the sky's the limit right now."

The win improved Winnipeg's home record to a dismal 4-5 while the Bombers are 5-3 on the road.

"Teams going into the playoffs on fire -- regardless of how the season is -- are usually the ones that do well in the playoffs," said centre Obby Khan. "So hopefully, we can pull out a good win against B.C. and go into the playoffs hot and that's what matters. It doesn't matter how you start the season, it matters how you end the season.

"It's in our hands ... It's up to us now so, we're the only ones who can be held accountable for whether we get a home game or not."


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