"It was a hard fought game by both teams," said Andre Benoit, who scored what would be the winning goal. "They played well. They played hard."
For the third straight game, the Heat opened the scoring when rookie Gaelan Patterson
scored his first professional hockey goal. David Van der Gulik broke in over the blueline and fired a shot that got caught up in Sanford's pads. The puck dribbled out to Patterson and he slid it under Sanford to give the Heat a 1-0 lead at 11:50 of the first.
Heat goaltender David Shantz made several key saves to preserve the Heat 1-0 first period lead.
Heat head coach Jim Playfair said his best players were not as good as Hamilton's best players.
"The big thing is we've got to play for sixty minutes, not 20 minutes," said Playfair. "Our top players were not as good as their top players."
Cam Cunning scored his first goal of the playoffs on a beautiful three-way passing play with line mates Jason Jaffray and Mikael Backlund
on the power play at 1:02 of the second. Backlund picked up the puck at centre ice and head-manned it to Jaffray, who broke in over the blue line and faked a shot and then passed off to Cunning breaking to the net. Cunning fired it past Sanford.
Mike Glumac cut the Heat lead in half at 6:55 of the second period with his sixth goal of the playoffs. Glumac cut across the high crease and fired a low shot that eluded Shantz.
"Every day and every game is a new challenge and every game is a championship game and we've been playing like that since day one," said 'Dogs coach Guy Boucher. "When we started this game I told the guys this has to be a seventh game overtime. And we've done that."
Glumac scored his second goal of the game at 10:41 of the third period to knot the score 2-2. The Bulldogs took its first lead of the game, 3-2, when Benoit's hard, rising shot beat Shantz with 3:23 remaining in third period.
Ryan Russell and David Desharnais each scored empty net goals for the 'Dogs.
Game six of the series is Monday in Hamilton. Game seven, if necessary, is scheduled for Tuesday in Hamilton.
NORTH DIVISION FINAL - ABBOTSFORD HEAT VS HAMILTON BULLDOGS (MONTREAL CANADIENS)
Game One - Thursday, April 29th - Abbotsford 3 @ Hamilton 2 (Brett Sutter - GWG)
Game Two - Sunday, May 2nd - Abbotsford 1 @ Hamilton 3 (Mike Glumac - GWG)
Game Three - Tuesday, May 4th - Hamilton @ Abbotsford (Olivier Fortier - GWG)
Game Four - Thursday, May 6th - Hamilton @ Abbotsford (Mitch Wahl
Game Five - Saturday, May 8th - Hamilton @ Abbotsford (Andre Benoit - GWG)
Game Six - Monday, May 10th - Abbotsford @ Hamilton - 7:30 PM PDT
*Game Seven - Tuesday, May 11th - Abbotsford @ Hamilton - 7:30 PM PDT
THE ABBOTSFORD HEAT IS IN TO THE NORTH DIVISION FINAL AND TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE FOR ALL HEAT HOME GAMES BY CALLING 1-877-452-HEAT. YOU CAN ALSO VISIT www.abbotsfordheat.com FOR ALL OF YOUR TICKETING NEEDS.