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Great weekend for UMaine hockey: here's what's next.

It was an incredible weekend to be a University of Maine hockey fan.

Two near-sellout crowds watched the Black Bears send rival UNH back to Durham with a sweep, including a 2-1 overtime thriller Saturday in which Tim Doherty scored an extra-attacker goal to set the stage for Patrick Shea's overtime winner.

The Alfond was rocking, and it felt like the good ole' days.

The sweep of UNH has the Black Bears just one point out of first place in Hockey East with a 4-2-2 league mark (7-3-2 overall).

Nobody had thought the Bears would have those marks 10 days away from Thanksgiving.

It has undoubtedly been a great start for Maine, but the next seven games - all away from Orono - will tell us where this team is going.

Next weekend sends the Bears to Matthews Arena to battle Northeastern, with trips to St. Lawrence of the ECAC, UMass and Yale to wrap up the first semester.

While Northeastern has staggered to a 3-3-1 league mark out of the gate, the Huskies are always tough at home.

St. Lawrence is staggering a bit, having lost four of its last five and is 3-8-1, but the bus trip from Orono to Canton, New York is not an easy one. Maine will need to get its legs under them quickly in game one of that series, and better not get complacent against a team it should sweep on paper.

Then there's UMass, a Frozen Four team from a year ago, and the Minutemen will be unveiling a banner honoring Cale Makar's Hobey Baker award during the Maine series. The Bears also tend to struggle a bit on Olympic ice sheets.

If the Black Bears can somehow get four or five points out of those Hockey East road trips, they'll be in great shape heading into the second half of the season, which features a heavy home schedule, including series with league bottom-feeders Vermont, Merrimack and Connecticut.

Coach Red Gendron also needs to keep riding the hot hand of Jeremy Swayman. It's clear who the Black Bears' best player is, and he's between the pipes.

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