MONTREAL — Bryan Chiu isn’t sure why so many promising Montreal Alouette seasons have hit a wall at B.C. Place.
“I’ve been trying to figure it out for the last dozen years or so — I don’t really know why,” the Vancouver native said Tuesday.
As they so often have since they rejoined the CFL in 1996, the Alouettes are off to a stunning start. They’re 7-1 and have the league’s best attack and top defence.
But on Friday night, they travel to Vancouver (TSN, 8:30 p.m.,), where they haven’t won since 2000 and have just one victory since 1998, the 35-year-old Chiu’s second year in the league.
“Some people say it’s the time change, because we play at 10:30 eastern time, or the crowd noise,” the Alouettes’ centre said.
“But there were a lot of games we played there where we had a great opportunity to win and just couldn’t finish them.” That includes last year, when the Alouettes under then-rookie head coach Marc Trestman and the Lions staged a festival of offence, with both clubs putting up more than 400 yards on attack.
But the Alouettes lost 36-34 on two late field goals by B.C.’s Paul McCallum after a touchdown pass to Brian Bratton had given them the lead.
Only a handful of Alouettes remain who have been through their entire torturous history of visits to the domed west coast stadium — Chiu, quarterback Anthony Calvillo, slotback Ben Cahoon and guard Scott Flory.
Others like rush end Anwar Stewart, receiver Kerry Watkins, guard Paul Lambert and defensive back Davis Sanchez have seen a lot of it.
“But the positive thing is it’s a new year and a completely different team,” said Chiu.
“There’s not a lot of guys on the team that have been through what I’ve been through with the record we have in B.C. Place, so these guys don’t know any better.”
If there is any time to break the streak it’s now.
The 3-5 Lions are coming off one of their most humiliating losses in recent years — a 37-10 thrashing at the hands of the modest Winnipeg Blue Bombers. The Bombers rushed for 393 yards, including 260 yards and two TDs on 26 carries by Fred Reid.