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Stampeders to face Ticats in Grey Cup

Hamilton Tiger-Cats wide receiver Brandon Banks celebrates on the sidelines during second half action against the Montreal Alouettes in the CFL Eastern Division final in Hamilton, Ont., Nov. 23, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats are heading back to the Grey Cup for a second straight year.

Kick returner Brandon Banks returned two punts for touchdowns as the Ticats downed the Montreal Alouettes 40-24 in the Canadian Football League’s East Division final at Tim Hortons Field on Sunday to advance to the championship game.

Hamilton will play the Calgary Stampeders, who toppled the Edmonton Eskimos 43-18 at McMahon Stadium later Sunday.

The Grey Cup will be held on Sun. Nov. 30 in Vancouver’s B.C. Place Stadium.

Hamilton advanced to the 101st Grey Cup last season but lost to the Saskatchewan Roughriders 45-23 in Regina.

The Tiger-Cats have the longest active Grey Cup drought in the CFL. The Ticats have not won since 1999 at B.C. Place Stadium, where they beat the Stampeders 32-21.

Calgary last played in the Grey Cup in 2012, losing to the host Toronto Argonauts that year 35-22. The Stampeders last won the CFL championship trophy in 2008, when they defeated the Montreal Alouettes 22-14 at Olympic Stadium.

The Stampeders will be the Grey Cup favourite against a team that was 9-9 in the regular season. Calgary was 2-0 versus Hamilton this season with scores of 10-7 and 30-20.

Tiger-Cats head coach Kent Austin is off to his third Grey Cup game as a CFL head coach. He won the ’07 contest in his rookie season on the sidelines with Saskatchewan. He then left for the NCAA ranks after that season before returning north to Hamilton last year.