Heat stay hot, take Game 1 from ‘Dogs

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Showing no letdown after a seven-game opening-round win over Rochester, Abbotsford gutted out a 3-2 road victory over Hamilton on Thursday to open the North Division Finals.

Brett Sutter scored the eventual game-winning goal 1:21 into the third period for the Heat, who have now won three straight road games and four in a row overall since falling into a 3-1 series hole to the Americans.

This contest was scoreless until 9:40 into the second period, when David Van der Gulik broke the deadlock with his third goal of the playoffs. Mark Mitera and Mikael Backlund earned assists on the play.

Bulldogs forward Aaron Palushaj tied it at 12:40 with his first of the postseason, but Heat defenseman Gord Baldwin regained the lead just 32 seconds later, also registering his first playoff marker.

Sutter padded Abbotsford advantage early in the third period, and it proved to be the game-winner when Brock Trotter brought the Bulldogs within 3-2 at 19:14 with goaltender Cedrick Desjardins pulled for an extra attacker.

Heat netminder David Shantz held on, though, and earned the victory after making 30 saves on 32 shots.

Desjardins finished with 29 stops for the Bulldogs, who will look to even the series in Game 2 on Sunday before the series shifts to British Columbia for three straight next week.