WORCESTER -- Just a week before, the Eagles watched their worst enemies shoot the winning overtime goal past Cory Schneider, then whiz past the Boston College goalie en route to their celebratory pileup.
They watched the Terriers cram Hockey East tournament championship hats on their heads and parade around TD Banknorth Garden with the trophy they felt should be theirs. Earlier in the season, they watched them skate the same loops on the same ice with the Beanpot hoisted high.
That was enough.
''I've never seen anything like it," said Schneider after BC's 5-0 thumping of Boston University in the Northeast Regional final last night, his second shutout in two days. ''No film. No game plan. Everyone in that locker room knew who was going to win."
The Terriers thought the win was theirs. After all, they had claimed the last four showdowns and were coming off a 9-2 bludgeoning of Nebraska-Omaha Friday. They were Beanpot champs. Regular-season Hockey East champs. Hockey East tournament champs.
But the champs morphed into chumps before 8,742 fans who expected a far more competitive match than the one that developed. A first-period giveaway turned into a goal. A bounce glanced off a body and into the net in the second period. And Joe Rooney, a snakebitten player with turbocharged skates but a noodle of a stick, scored two backbreaking shorthanded strikes to end his seasonlong string of futility.
''I can't even describe it," said BC left wing Chris Collins, who battled through a battered hip to claim his flight reservation for Milwaukee and the Frozen Four. ''I'm the happiest person in the world right now. When Joe Rooney scored, it felt like they were my goals. He's been so close. When he put those in, it was great. This is the happiest moment of my career."
It was a stunning end for BU coach Jack Parker and the Terriers (26-10-4), who swaggered into the tilt with a 19-1-2 streak and an April weekend in Milwaukee stamped on their calendars. Instead, the brick house that BU built -- solid goaltending, four-line depth, a steady six-man defensive corps -- crumbled like a house of cards under the wave-after-wave of pressure sustained by the puck-hungry Eagles (25-12-3).
In the first period, when BU defenseman Kevin Schaeffer set up behind his net to start the breakout and partner Sean Sullivan peeled off to the side, BC center Brian Boyle spotted the formation instantly: what the Terriers call ''Parallel D," when the defensemen break out side by side and use each other as safety valves.
Linemate Collins hounded Schaeffer behind the net, hurrying the defenseman out to the slot. Schaeffer tried to dish a backhand pass to Sullivan, but Boyle stepped in, intercepted the puck, and roofed it past BU netminder John Curry (26 saves) at 6:24, giving BC a 1-0 lead.
The startled Terriers got some jump late in the period, getting shots on Schneider (28 saves) but never solving the wall-like goalie. BC doubled its lead in the second when Rooney, driving to the net, ripped a shot that bounced off forward Matt Greene and past Curry at 4:40.
It was still a game then, but the Eagles snuffed out any hope of a BU rally. On the power play, BU forward Pete MacArthur kicked off an odd-man burst, spotting Sullivan joining the rush on the left side. MacArthur opened his hips to pass the puck to his teammate, but Boyle, who's been playing defense on the penalty kill, saw the forward's body open up and poked his redwood-long stick out to block the pass. The Eagles started going the other way and Rooney canned a shorthanded breakaway at 13:22 to make it a 3-0 game.
Parker called his timeout then and saw his club go on another power play 1:14 later, but the shellshocked Terriers soon found themselves staring at another Rooney shortie. This time, Rooney charged toward the goal and poked the puck over the goal line just as Curry and BU defenseman Dan Spang collided, knocking the net off its moorings. The goal was reviewed, and after several minutes, referee John Campion signaled toward center ice, sending the BC bench into a smile-saturated eruption.
''When they were reviewing that I thought, 'We need to have that one called back,' " said Parker. ''It's 3-0 and if we can get the next goal, maybe we can make it a game. But the way we were playing, we weren't going to make it a game unless something drastic happened. We needed to get ignited. A goal might have ignited us. But the game was over at 4-0."
Just before BC forward Benn Ferriero scored a garbage-time goal, defenseman Brett Motherwell was crunched into the end boards. BU forward Brandon Yip caught Motherwell with a knee to the head and the freshman crumpled as his classmate scored BC's fifth goal. After the strike, an angry Motherwell, reeling from what he considered a cheap shot, skated to celebrate with his teammates, blood oozing from his nose.
''I'd rather be going to the Frozen Four," Motherwell said, comparing last night's win to the trophies the BU boys snatched earlier this year. ''They can have all that stuff."