ORONO, Maine — The beauty of the playoffs in any sport is that it can erase the memory of a forgettable regular season.

The University of Maine men’s hockey team has definitely had a regular season it would like to forget.

And the University of Vermont Catamounts would love to overlook the 2015 portion of their schedule, in which they have gone 4-8-3, significantly damaging their NCAA Tournament aspirations.

The two teams will meet in the postseason for the first time ever this weekend as the seventh-seeded Catamounts, 18-12-4 overall and 10-9-3 in Hockey East, will entertain the Black Bears (13-20-3, 8-12-2) in their best-of-three Hockey East first-round series.

The games will begin at 7:05 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and, if necessary, Sunday.

The Catamounts have owned the series the last two seasons, winning the last seven meetings, including four this season.

The Catamounts have also won the last five games between the two at the Gutterson Fieldhouse in Burlington.

The Maine players are eager to make amends for their regular season, which concluded with three losses in their last four games. That cost them a chance to host a first-round series.

Maine senior alternate captain Jake Rutt said since the teams haven’t played since November, both have “manifested into different teams since then.”

But if the Black Bears are going to have any success and snap Vermont’s dominance, they are going to have to “play to our identity.”

“We need to be a gritty team that plays fast and wins puck battles in the corners and in front of both nets. We have to make it tough on them. They should walk away with ice bags. They shouldn’t want to play us,” said defenseman Rutt.

“We have to believe in ourselves and be hungry around the net. If we have everyone going [well], we can beat anyone,” said Maine captain Devin Shore.

Junior right wing Steven Swavely said Vermont “packs it in in the defensive zone. They’re hard to play against. They’re in your face. We have to find a way to be even harder to play against.”

Junior defenseman Ben Hutton said they need to have all five players doing their part defensively to reduce the number of odd-man rushes (three-on-twos, two-on-ones or breakaways).

The Black Bears have allowed 34 goals in their last eight games and they have to shore up that part of their game if they are going to pull off the upset.

Vermont isn’t a high-scoring team (2.76 goals per game, tied for 29th nationally), but the Catamounts are the 10th stingiest team among 59 teams in the country (2.18 goals-against average) so they don’t need to score many goals to win.

The Black Bears have too often played like a finesse team and they don’t have enough highly skilled players or the consistent goaltending that would allow them to win consistently playing that way.

The Black Bears will need one of the goalies to stand out and they can’t give up the odd-man rushes they’ve surrendered in recent weeks.

They will also have to release their shots quickly and put them on net because UVM is a good shot-blocking team. The Black Bears can be guilty of taking too long to release their shots, which makes them easier to block and allows the goalie to square up to the shooter.

They can also be prone to missing the net too often. The power play is in a 4-for-39 funk and will also need to produce.