Centennial, 0-3-1 in games against state tournament teams this season, scored an upset of St. Thomas Academy to finally beat a team playing at Xcel Energy Center this week.
The No. 5 seed Cougars (20-6-3) edged the No. 4 Cadets 3-2 in the Class 2A quarterfinals, never leading until Hayden Brickner scored the clinching goal with 3 minutes, 32 seconds remaining.
Goaltender Travis Allen made the lead stand, stopping all 14 third-period shots. He made 33 saves overall and held the Cadets' power play scoreless for the last 1:55 of the game.
Perhaps his biggest save came only 30 seconds into the third period, denying Ray Christy on a 2-on-1.
"I saw a little white [jersey] and did a quick prayer," said Allen, who outdueled Frank Brimsek Award finalist Atticus Kelly.
"It came down to which goalie made the last save," Cadets co-head coach Greg Vannelli said. "That save early in the third period and their shorthanded goal made the difference."
Jack Menne scored shorthanded to tie the score 2-2 at 7:41 of the third period. He and Carter Wagner completely befuddled St. Thomas Academy's power-play unit, created the turnover and scored.
"I don't think anyone was nervous coming into the game," Menne said. "We had confidence in each other."
Wagner cut the Centennial deficit to 2-1 at 7:39 of the second period with a successful diving swipe at a rebound.
The Cadets (25-3-1) jumped to a 2-0 lead after one period on goals from Cade Huntley and Ben Stucker.
DAVID LA VAQUE