When the University of Maine swept a two-game series Jan. 27-28 at Boston University, it signaled the Black Bears’ continued comeback from a horrid start to the 2011-2012 season.

It also left BU with question marks.

Since then?

Both teams have done OK, not dominating, but winning more than losing.

Maine (22-12-3) and BU (23-13-1) meet tonight in the second semifinal game of the Hockey East tournament at the TD Garden in Boston.

Game time is scheduled for 8 p.m., but the first semifinal game — favored Boston College (27-10-1) against Providence (14-19-4) — is set for 5 p.m. So the Maine-BU game may start a little later.

Both games are on NESN, as is Saturday’s 8 p.m. final.

Looking for a favorite tonight? Good luck. Not only are the team’s records similar, but BU has gone 8-5 since their last meeting, Maine 8-4.

And about those two games in January, Maine scored empty-netters in both games to win each by two goals — i.e. they were close.

“I don’t think we played very well against them on Friday night,” BU coach Jack Parker said. “I thought we played extremely well on Saturday … yet, we didn’t win because they played just as hard. (Maine goalie Dan) Sullivan played extremely well.”

Sullivan has been a difference-maker for the Black Bears, as they recovered from a 3-6-2 start to the season. Not only is the goalie more consistent, but his defensemen are protecting much better.

And Maine is getting more consistent contributions from more than the top line of Spencer Abbott, Mike Flynn and Joey Diamond, a.k.a. the best line in the country.

“Everyone knows about our top line,” Maine coach Tim Whitehead said. “But we aren’t going to advance with just one line and our team knows that.

“A big part of our success in the second half is the rest of our team playing well.”

Both teams are susceptible to droughts. In losses to Providence, Massachusetts, Northeastern and Merrimack during the past four weeks, Maine has allowed opponents to dictate the play.

BU has been the same way and showed its shine-or-sink tendencies against New Hampshire in last weekend’s quarterfinal series. BU lost 3-2 in double-overtime, won 4-2, then won 5-4 in double-overtime after trailing 4-1 in the second period.

“We started that (third) game just like we played Friday,” Parker said. “UNH was dominating us … we seemed to be in a daze and then we came out of it.”

Anchoring the Terriers has been goalie Kieran Millan, who made 68 saves in that third game with UNH.

BU defenseman Garrett Noonan, who scored two goals and assisted on another in the Terriers’ comeback, may be the best BU player on the ice. The team also features two dynamic lines, the first one featuring Alex Chiasson and Chris Connolly.

* Maine’s strength is its puck control. When the Black Bears are going well, they keep possession (or take it) for long stretches, and move the puck well.

Witness the game-winning goal Sunday in the 2-1 win over Merrimack. Flynn stole the puck and cleared it out to Diamond. He tipped it to a charging defenseman Brice O’Connor, who found Abbott skating along the boards. Abbott centered to defenseman Nick Pryor in the slot.

Pryor shot, and O’Connor scored on the rebound.

“They have a great skating team,” Parker said. “Maine can out-shoot you … they put a lot of pucks to the net.”

* Maine’s weakness is its defensive lapses. In the Black Bears’ 5-2 loss to Merrimack on Saturday, the Warriors put 37 shots on net, several coming from players not guards. On Sunday, Merrimack had little room to skate and got only 21 shots

* BU’S strength is its league-leading offense which can score goals in flurries.

* BU’S weakness is similar to Maine — a talented team that can go into a fog.

* The intangible is that back-against-the-wall desperation that often fuels teams.

Maine, looking for its first Hockey East crown in eight years, is also trying to get to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2007. Even with a loss, the Black Bears probably make the NCAAs, but they would like to ensure that.

BU is already a cinch for the NCAAs, but the Terriers have been overcoming adversity the past months with the separate arrests of two players (Corey Trivino and Max Nicastroon) on sexual assault charges, and the defection of another (Charlie Coyle) to the major juniors.

“It’s difficult for these kids to handle, to absorb,” Parker said. “But the team has come together.”

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