Captain Benoit Gratton scored his first goal of the 2004 postseason with 8:16 left, breaking a 1-1 tie and lifting Hamilton a 3-1 win over Cleveland on Sunday afternoon and a 4-2 series victory in their North Division semifinal series.
The Bulldogs will face Rochester in the North Division final beginning Tuesday night at Copps Coliseum.
The Barons held a 1-0 lead past the midway point of the second period on a goal by Shane Joseph, his fifth of the postseason and team-leading ninth point.
Chris Higgins got his third goal of the postseason at the 10:52 mark of the second, setting the stage for Gratton’s winner in the third. It was Gratton’s first goal in his last 21 postseason games.
Duncan Milroy, who scored four goals in 50 regular-season games, added his third of the series into an empty net with less than 15 seconds remaining.
J.F. Damphousse made 27 saves in the win.