For road games, the Boston University players usually wear their red warmup suits, filing out of visiting rinks with bags draped over their shoulders.
But last night, after they won their 27th Beanpot championship in 54 years with a 3-2 victory over Boston College, the Terriers trooped out of their locker room in suits and ties, dressed as if they had played a home game.
Because whether it's Boston Garden, the FleetCenter, or TD Banknorth Garden, this footprint of downtown real estate is BU's house.
Whether it's a freshman like Jason Lawrence, who scored BU's second goal in the middle frame, or a senior like cocaptain David Van der Gulik, who returned for the final minutes after missing most of the third period after crunching his knee into the boards, this rink and this tournament and this trophy have become veritable BU birthrights, the second Monday in February forever theirs on the hockey calendar.
''The first time and last time are the biggest," said Van der Gulik, who spent much of the third period in the dressing room icing his knee. ''Especially after losing a heartbreaking one in overtime [to BC] my sophomore year, you really realize how special this tournament is.
''To win this one the last time is definitely the sweetest. I'll have a lot of memories that will last a lifetime, and it's just great that we got this win tonight."
Appropriately, BU coach Jack Parker singled out his seniors for superior nights and his freshmen for equally impressive seasons. But it was a brash, hop-into-the-boards sophomore who struck the biggest blow for the Terriers. After BC, humbled throughout the second period (the Terriers enjoyed a two-goal outburst and a 13-5 shot advantage), tied the game in the third, second-year forward Peter MacArthur batted a fluttering puck out of the air and past Eagle netminder Cory Schneider for the winner.
After BC forward Stephen Gionta scored the equalizer at 6:24 of the third period, the Eagles went down a man when Brian Boyle was sent off to the box. As they prepared to kick off the power play, MacArthur skated by his goalie, leaned his face into John Curry's mask, and said, ''We're gonna score here."
''I was like, 'OK, I'll take it.' Sure enough -- and he had a really good opportunity before that -- he was able to bury it," Curry said. ''That was pretty cool. I couldn't believe he was able to pull it off."
On the winner, defenseman Sean Sullivan sent a diagonal pass to forward Bryan Ewing, who had scored BU's first goal in the second period. Ewing ripped a shot that Cory Schneider (33 saves) stopped, but the puck popped in the air, and MacArthur batted it into the net at 7:18. As he circled the BC net, MacArthur, as he does after every goal, jumped against the boards in celebration.
''You couldn't possibly overestimate the answer Peter MacArthur had," Parker said. ''They had momentum and that goal took the wind out of their sails."
The goal capped off a starry night for the tournament MVP, who made a dipsy-doodle move to elude the clutches of BC defenseman Tim Kunes en route to Ewing's goal. MacArthur, at the BC blue line, twirled the puck through his skates, slipped by Kunes, and banged two shots that Schneider stopped. But Ewing, hovering in the slot, rammed home the rebound to tie the game (BC defenseman Peter Harrold opened the scoring in the first period).
The Terriers have now claimed 10 of the last 12 Beanpot championships. Even when the Eagles, outshot, 36-20, and rarely breaching the offensive zone with consistency, tied the game in the third period and threatened to tie it once more on a third-period goal-mouth scramble, the Terriers never buckled.
''It's a certain attitude you carry in the Beanpot," said Curry (18 saves). ''It's a different feeling. It's an extra confidence. When the game's tight like that, it's almost like the pressure's off."
And while the Terriers walked off with the Beanpot trophy yet again, they're hoping to be holding different trophies -- the Hockey East and NCAA versions -- later in the year. They've won 11 straight games, the longest streak in the country. They're playing with quickness and skill at a level that BC coach Jerry York hasn't seen in the last five years.
''With the streak we've got going, we'll enjoy it tonight, but we have three big weekends coming up," Curry said. ''We have the capability to do a lot. We're not going to stop short of anything we're capable of. I think there are big things in store for us this year."
For the 27th time in 54 years -- exactly half of all the occasions this magical tournament has been played -- Boston University is the Beanpot champion.
In an emotional, check-filled affair, the Terriers toppled Boston College, 3-2, in the championship game last night at the TD Banknorth Garden.
The Eagles tied it with a third-period goal, but BU forward Peter MacArthur netted the game-winner at 7:18, giving the Terriers their 11th win in a row, the longest streak in the nation.
BU also improved to 11-7 against BC in championship-game meetings. The two have never met in the consolation match, which BU coach Jack Parker calls the ''loneliest game in the world."
In a delicious belt-and-blast matchup that included more than its share of hits between the archrivals, BU overcame a one-goal deficit after one period by scoring two second-period goals. Sophomore forward Bryan Ewing netted the first, while freshman Jason Lawrence gave the Terriers the 2-1 advantage.
Down, 1-0, BU evened the score in an up-and-down, skate-and-thump second period after an eye-opening dipsy-doodle by second-line center MacArthur. The forward, skating down the right wing, pulled the puck around defenseman Tim Kunes, getting some open space to get two shots off on goal. BC goalie Cory Schneider stopped both, but Ewing swooped in and banged home the rebound at 4:07, making it a 1-1 game.
On the go-ahead goal, the play started when forward Brandon Yip collided with BC's Pat Gannon along the left-side boards and won the puck. Linemate Lawrence settled the puck and kicked off the rush, sending a pass in the middle to Yip, who returned it to his winger. Lawrence, from the edge of the crease, jammed home a shot at 9:52, giving his club a 2-1 lead.
While BU went 0 for 3 on its power play during the first period, BC needed only seven seconds of man-advantage time to score the game's first goal. With Ewing in the box for high-sticking, BC forward Brian Boyle won the draw and defenseman Peter Harrold zoomed toward the net with the puck.
BU goalie John Curry appeared to have Harrold's shot covered, but BU defenseman Matt Gilroy appeared to either kick the puck in with his left skate or nudge his goalie's arm, which bumped the rubber over the goal line, at 17:28, making it a 1-0 game. Harrold was credited with the goal, his seventh of the season.
On BU's first power play in the first period, BC penalty-killer Stephen Gionta nearly sprung Chris Collins for a shorthanded bid. But Gionta's pass for Collins, who entered the game with a nation-best five shorthanded goals, was just out of the forward's reach. The Terriers didn't record a single shot on the power play.
Later in the period, BU had a five-on-three opportunity with Benn Ferriero and Nathan Gerbe in the penalty box. The Terriers, with a 65-second two-man advantage, had their best scoring chance when Kenny Roche glanced a shot off the right post after Schneider stopped an initial bid by MacArthur.
Late in the first period, Curry made a sparkling stop on Boyle to keep it a one-goal game. The big BC forward redirected a pass in front of the net, but Curry, reaching back to his right, snared Boyle's attempt with two minutes left in the period.
BU's last game was a 3-0 win over UMass at Agganis Arena. In the last 11 years, whenever the Terriers have won the buffer game in between rounds (nine such victories), they have captured the Beanpot championship.
The Terriers welcomed back top-line right wing John Laliberte (7-14--21), who missed six games with a sprained left knee. Eric Thomassian, who had taken Laliberte's spot, was scratched.