Blue Bombers relish beating Montreal

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:58 AM ET

We're not entirely sure, but Barrin Simpson apparently believes the Winnipeg Blue Bombers' 20-18 win over the Montreal Alouettes on Thursday night was big.

"It was huge. It was huge!" the middle linebacker bellowed, "because that gives us the tie-breaker over them already. It's a road win, a division win ... so that was huge. A huge win.

"It makes up for that loss last week at home. That was huge. Huge!"

For those of you scoring at home, Simpson said the word 'huge' six times in that soliloquy. Winning in Montreal tends to have that kind of effect on visiting teams, since it happens so rarely.

It was Winnipeg's second straight win in Montreal. Before that, there were five consecutive losses.

"Going into Montreal and getting a win out of there is a reason to feel good," Bomber head coach Doug Berry said. "It just feels good to get a win against a good football team."

The Bombers (2-1-1) will attempt to make it two wins in a row on Friday night at Canad Inns Stadium when they play host to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, who are 0-4.

Winnipeg then finishes off its home-and-home with Hamilton at Ivor Wynne Stadium on Aug. 3, but Berry is already campaigning for his team to not take the Tabbies lightly.

"We haven't beaten them yet," warned Berry, whose squad lost both of its pre-season games to the Tiger-Cats.

However, if the defence plays like it did on Thursday and the offence duplicates its fourth quarter against the Alouettes, the Bombers just might stand a chance against the Ticats.

The defensive dozen bent but didn't break against the Als and then produced the game-changing goal-line stand, Charles Roberts and Kevin Glenn were the offensive stars in the fourth quarter, and the special teams had their best outings of the season.

"I'm very happy, especially with the way it happened," slotback Milt Stegall said. "We gave them some chances, but everybody took their turn making big plays -- offensively, defensively and even on special teams.

"Everybody took their turn in contributing, and that's what we need to do if we want to continue winning."

It marked the third time in four games that the Bombers had to come from behind to either tie or win a game.

Unlike last year at this time, when Berry was feeling out the players and the players were feeling out Berry, this year's Blue and Gold edition has confidence in its ability to get the job done when the going gets tough.

When asked yesterday if there was a pressing area of concern with his team, Berry couldn't think of one.

"This team already knows who they are and what they're capable of," he said. "I don't think there's going to be many surprises left. They are going to be ready to play every week.

"... If the defence starts slow, I'm confident they'll come together. And if the offence starts slow, I know we'll sort it out and come together. That's what I believe, and if I believe that I think our team believes that."

To be fair, the Alouettes were missing a couple of key starters in Tim Strickland and Kerry Watkins on Thursday. Regardless, head coach and GM Jim Popp is searching for answers.

"We have to look in the mirror and say why are we 1-3," Popp told the Globe and Mail. "We've lost to that team twice, and we shouldn't have lost either time."

But Montreal did lose twice, the season series is already Winnipeg's, and its record is a paltry 1-3.

Could this represent a changing of the guard in the East Division?

"When it changes, let me know," Bombers GM Brendan Taman said. "I'm hoping it happens. I'm sure they're saying they could have beat us two games.

"We haven't separated ourselves just yet."


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