Bombers feeling chipper after first win

KEN WIEBE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 5:24 PM ET

This was so much more than a singular victory for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

In fact, it was a necessary jolt of life to a team that was getting close to flatlining.

So rather than face the prospect of travelling to Toronto to face the Argonauts this week with an 0-5 record, the 1-4 Blue Bombers are brimming with confidence after a 32-28 come-from-behind victory over the Calgary Stampeders on Thursday night at Canad Inns Stadium.

While nobody is planning a parade or overjoyed, there was a sense of jubilation in the locker-room following the first win of the season.

"You hear the chaos in here," said Blue Bombers defensive back Kelly Malveaux, who came up with an important interception in the fourth quarter and had six tackles.

"It's a good feeling just to come out with W (because) 0-5 is way worse than 1-4, so we took a step in the right direction."

Defensive end Tom Canada was succinct in his remarks.

"I kind of almost forgot what it's like (to win)," said Canada. "It feels pretty damn good."

With blood dripping from his nose and an ice pack on his left knee, Blue Bomber defensive tackle Doug Brown had little difficulty putting things in perspective.

"To get that first win and to get rid of that O-for is huge because (Calgary) is a high-calibre football team," said Brown.

"When you're winless, there is no moral victory in playing them tough and coming close."

Despite coughing up a late lead, there's no need to worry about moral victories now.

"It's a world of difference," said Blue Bombers receiver Arjei Franklin.

MOMENTUM

"Momentum is huge in football and this is something that gets the ball rolling in our direction. The difference between 1-4 and 0-and-5 is a huge deal. I can say it now, it could be the difference between life and death.

"We showed a lot of resilience. Especially when a team is 0-4, it's easy to kind of fold when you're down and this team did not. We responded."

The win came with special significance for rookie receiver Aaron Hargreaves, who had lost 29 consecutive games, dating back to his collegiate career with the Simon Fraser University Clan.

"It feels great. I can't lie," said Hargreaves, who hadn't won a game since October of 2004. "I've seen so many close games like that and they've gone the other way. So when Romby (Bryant) caught that ball at the end, man that was a great feeling. But I didn't get too excited because there were still 12 seconds on the clock. You never know.

"But now I couldn't be happier."

Hargreaves isn't the only one.

There was a collective sigh of relief breathed on Maroons Road on Thursday, but it's back to work tomorrow in anticipation of Friday's game with a division rival that's already beat them this season.

EXTRA POINTS: When asked about the injuries from Thursday's contest, Berry said nobody was worse than "day-to-day." That means Brown, Franklin, Greg Bearman and Terrence Edwards should all be available this week. Brown got leg-whipped by Canada, but declared himself good to go. "It locked up and scared me for a moment there, but it feels great," said Brown. Slotback Milt Stegall might also be ready to return this week from a knee injury. "You've got to see practise, same-old, same-old," said Berry. "I'm more optimistic this week than any week in the past."


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