REGINA – The Calgary Stampeders eliminated the Saskatchewan Roughriders from the CFL playoff picture with a 32-21 victory Saturday in Regina.
Heading into the weekend, Saskatchewan held a slim chance at qualifying for the post-season. The Riders were tied with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats for the third and final playoff spot in the East Division. Any combination of Tiger-Cats wins and Riders losses totalling two in the final two weeks of the season would eliminate Saskatchewan.
Hamilton defeated the Ottawa Redblacks 30-27 on Friday night and Saturday’s defeat to the Stampeders sealed the Riders’ fate. Although it’s possible for the Ticats and Riders to end the season with identical records, Hamilton holds the tiebreaker over Saskatchewan. The last time the Riders missed the playoffs was in 2016.
The Riders, who have gone 2-10 in their last 12 games, are now 6-11 on the season after losing their sixth straight home game. Calgary improved to 11-6 with the victory.
After a first half that featured six field goals, four from Calgary’s Rene Parades and two from Saskatchewan’s Brett Lauther, the teams combined for three touchdowns in the third quarter. Ka’Deem Carey and Dedrick Mills each scored on two-yard runs for the Stampeders while Shaq Evans hauled in a 23-yard scoring pass from Mason Fine.
Richie Sindani, a Regina product, caught a 14-yard touchdown pass from Maier in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach.
Mario Alford electrified the crowd in the final minute with a 104-yard punt return for a touchdown. He is the first player in Riders history to score touchdowns in the same season on a kickoff return, a punt return and a missed field goal return.
The game marked the first CFL start for Fine who replaced veteran Cody Fajardo. Riders head coach Dave Dickenson said the change wasmade in attempt to spark the offence. Fine finished 18 of 28 for 196 yards with one touchdown.