BOSTON -- Another year and another Beanpot for Boston University. Only it was anything but business as usual on the TD Banknorth Garden ice Monday night to get the title.
Sure, the No. 1-ranked Terriers (22-5-1) beat No. 2 Northeastern (19-7-2) in what looked like a convincing 5-2 win after a quick glance at the box score.
But for the 17,565 fans at the 57th renewal of this Hub of Hockey reunion, all it took was a quick glance away from the ice in the third period to miss the unreal part of the game.
The 2009 final showdown will certainly have its place among the folklore of this tournament, but only time will tell whether it meant more than just a 29th Beanpot Tournament championship for the Terriers.
For nearly 54 minutes, the city rivals traded shots, saves and everything in between. There were end-to-end rushes. There were punishing open-ice hits. And there were offensive-zone moves that created wonderment.
Then a 30-second sequence late in the third period left both benches in wonderland.
With BU leading 3-2, sophomore Joe Pereira was whistled for slashing Alex Tuckerman at 12:54 of the third period. Northeastern, which scored a power-play goal in the first, would have the man-advantage again with a chance to tie the game.
A minute into the power-play, BU freshman David Warsofsky skated up the right side and fired a shot that beat Northeastern goalie Brad Thiessen high to the glove side to make it 4-2.
But with a minute still left on the power-play, the Huskies had a chance to close the gap back to one goal.
Thirty seconds later, sophomore Colin Wilson beat Thiessen high to the blocker side, and all of a sudden, it was 5-2 BU.
"You see it happening and you just can't believe it," BU coach Jack Parker said.
There were more than five minutes left to play, but it was game over, and the Huskies' bench knew it.
"It takes the absolute wind out of you," Northeastern captain Joe Vitale said. "It's like you go from a complete high -- we had momentum, we had a power play, it was a 3-2 game -- and it just sucked the wind right out of us when they scored those goals."
Warsofsky and Wilson completed what turned out to be a shorthanded hat trick for BU that was started back in the second period by Beanpot MVP Nick Bonino.
The sophomore thought he was skating in for a goal celebration in the opening minute of the second, but when Brandon Yip's shorthanded bid went high over the crossbar, off the glass and back over in front of Thiessen, Bonino instead found himself with an opportunity. He buried his 10th goal of the season and his third of this year's Beanpot as BU took a 2-1 lead.
"I think the [first] shorthanded goal was a shocker," Northeastern coach Greg Cronin said. "When Yip missed the breakaway, you think you're dodging a little bad luck there. And then they get the rebound off the glass, and it comes right back at us.
"That was kind of a bad omen."
More like an apocalypse.
"The game was won on three shorthanded goals," Parker said. "Who would have thought that? I've never seen that in my life in the Beanpot.
"Special teams were big for us, more than I thought they would be. We got one power-play goal, but to get three shorthanded goals is something that's just hard to describe and hard to imagine."
BU entered the Beanpot final with four shorthanded goals in 27 games this season, so the thought of three in one game would have been beyond the realm of comprehension before Monday night.
As good as BU's penalty kill was in coming up with the three shorties, the Terriers also held Northeastern to 1-for-10 with the man-advantage -- including 0-for-5 in that decisive third period.
It all started with a 5-on-3 kill that lasted 45 seconds. Freshman goalie Kieran Millan was up to that test and many others on a night in which he made 23 saves.
"I thought the turning point in the game was Northeastern's power play in the third period," Parker said. "They really stormed us, and Kieran Millan played great. It's quite a run that he's been on so far this season at 18-1-1.
"But the big games are in front of us."
The Beanpot was BU's third tournament title so far this season, which also has included wins in the IceBreaker and the Denver Cup.
But the Hockey East tournament and the NCAAs still lie ahead, so the key for the No. 1 Terriers is to not peak too early.
"Attitude is everything," Parker said. "We don't win any games on talent; we win on attitude and playing hard and outworking people. The object is to not get too full of yourself because you won an in-season tournament. It's not the end of the season, it's just a nice feather in our cap because it was available and we won it.
"The only poll that counts is the one in April. That's the most important poll. That's the one that wins the national championship."
Winning February titles might be business as usual on Commonwealth Avenue, but BU hasn't won an April championship since 1995 -- or 12 Beanpots ago, in Terrier years.
David Albright covers college sports for ESPN.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.