Hockey observers assuming Eden Prairie's early three-goal lead was the start of an onslaught were mistaken.
Blowout? Only if you mean the air exhaled by Eagles fans.
No. 3 seed Eden Prairie survived a rally by Centennial to win Thursday's Class 2A quarterfinal game 4-3 at Xcel Energy Center.
"There are no easy wins here," Eden Prairie coach Lee Smith said.
Two goals from Jack Sullivan and a third from Marc Sullivan within the game's first nine minutes seemed to indicate otherwise. Even when Centennial got a goal from Tyler Nyman, the Eagles' Michael Graham answered less than one minute for a 4-1 lead after the first period.
"We told them not to panic," Centennial coach Ritch Menne said. "We knew we had the character to come back."
The Cougars (16-11-2) rallied for second-period goals by Ryner Gorowsky and Adam Anderson to unsettle the Eagles (18-8-3).
"The way the game started was almost too easy," Smith said. "Then we dealt with some adversity and we were reeling."
Gorowsky came within inches of tying the score in the third period as his rebound attempt hit the post.
"We were putting a lot of pressure on them, and we were feeling good," Gorowsky said.
The good vibes remained even as Anderson was called for tripping with 2:16 to play.
"Obviously we're not going to agree, but it is what it is," Menne said. "Still, nobody panicked. The guys truly believed in themselves and thought they would get the shorthanded goal."
DAVID LA VAQUE