ORONO, Maine — It is the stretch run for Hockey East.

The bad news for the University of Maine men’s hockey team is that six of its final nine games, all league contests, are on the road.

The good news is, the Black Bears have a better road record than a home mark.

UMaine takes a 6-3-1 road mark into a two-game series at the University of Massachusetts.

The Black Bears are 5-4-3 at Alfond Arena.

Two of their road losses were 5-3 setbacks to Northeastern, which is ranked eighth in the USCHO.com poll and ninth in the USA Today/USA Hockey poll.

UMaine’s resurgence away from home has come after the Black Bears snapped a 23-game road winless streak (0-19-4) with a 6-2 victory at UMass Lowell on Nov. 4.

“Once we got the first one under our belts, it gave us confidence we could win on the road,” said UMaine sophomore right wing Patrick Shea.

“There was a sigh of relief. It took the pressure off us,” said sophomore left wing Mitch Fossier.

UMaine (12-9-4) sits in sixth place in Hockey East with 15 points courtesy of a 6-6-3 league record.

The Black Bears are three points behind fifth-place UMass Lowell but the Black Bears have played one fewer game.

This season, the top five finishers from the regular season earn first-round byes for the playoffs. The Nos. 6-8 teams will host best-of-three, first-round series against the Nos. 9-11 teams.

The quarterfinals will feature the top three seeds hosting the first-round winners and the No. 4 seed entertaining the No. 5 team in best-of-three series for the right to go to the TD Garden in Boston for the semifinals and championship game.

Hockey East will re-seed after the first-round series.

The top seed entertains the lowest-seeded survivor; the second-place team hosts the second-lowest seed and the third-place team awaits the highest-seeded survivor.

UMass is four points behind UMaine but has played one fewer game.

Following the UMass series, UMaine entertains Merrimack (10 points, 15 games) on Feb. 2 and Feb. 3, hits the road for single games at Providence (20-16) on Feb. 10 and New Hampshire (11-14) on Feb. 14. The Black Bears finish up with three against league leader Boston College (24-16) with a Feb. 17 home date and road games on Feb. 23 and Feb. 24.

The Black Bears are looking forward to the home stretch and trying to move up the standings.

“The sky’s the limit. We feel we can play with anybody in the country,” said senior defenseman and co-captain Mark Hamilton. “It doesn’t matter if we’re playing at home or on the road, we have to stick to our systems and be disciplined.”

The Black Bears may regain the services of sophomore center Tim Doherty, who has missed the last six games with an arm injury.

“It has been tough. Hopefully, the doctors will let me play,” said Doherty, who has been practicing. He notched seven goals and nine assists in 18 games before sustaining the injury Jan. 6 against Boston University.

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