CLEVELAND - Mike Glumac's second-period goal stood as the game winner as Hamilton beat Lake Erie 5-3 Friday, putting the Bulldogs on the verge of clinching a division title.
Hamilton's third straight win moves the Bulldogs (46-15-8) 22 points up on the second-place Rochester Americans in the American Hockey League's North Division. Hamilton needs just a single point over its final 11 games to wrap up its first division crown since the 2003-04 season.
Glumac's goal 11:20 into the second gave Hamilton a 4-1 lead, but the Monsters (30-32-7) made it interesting with two goals later in the period. Ryan Russell put the game away for Hamilton, scoring into an empty net with three seconds left.
Andrew Conboy, Brock Trotter and P.K. Subban added goals for the Bulldogs, who can clinch the division Saturday afternoon against the rival Toronto Marlies.
Brian Fahey led the way with a goal and an assist for Lake Erie, while Ryan Stoa and Ray Macias added singles. The Monsters trail the Manitoba Moose by five points in the race for the fourth and final playoff spot in the North Division.
Curtis Sanford's 26 saves preserved the win for Hamilton, while Tyler Weiman stopped 25 shots in defeat for Lake Erie.