Twenty-four days later, not much had changed for the Maine hockey team.

The Black Bears returned to the ice against New Hampshire and were plagued by undisciplined play, shoddy defense and some bad luck, falling 5-4 Tuesday before an announced crowd of 3,809 at the Cross Insurance Arena.

The Wildcats had defeated Maine 5-2 on Dec. 5 before the Black Bears took a three-week break.

The hiatus was either too long, or not long enough. New Hampshire jumped to a 2-0 lead after one period, then made Maine pay for every mistake whenever its lead got cut to a single goal.

“Soft people say, ‘Jeez, Maine kept battling.’ That’s true,” Black Bears Coach Red Gendron said. “But we’re in the second half now and we’ve got to learn from the lessons that we so painfully endured in the first half. We took penalties we didn’t need to. We took penalties sometimes because of a complete lack of discipline.”

Maine (4-10-4) was whistled for eight infractions. New Hampshire (7-6-4) entered the game with the nation’s fourth-best power play at 26.7 percent. The Wildcats added two more goals with the man advantage Tuesday to keep the Black Bears at bay.

“Every time we scored, they got one back and kind of killed the energy,” Maine senior center Will Merchant said.

“We kind of gave them all their goals once again.”

Freshman Rob McGovern got the start in goal for the Black Bears, and wasn’t nearly as sharp as in his previous outing in Portland, when he made 44 saves in a 1-1 tie with North Dakota.

New Hampshire’s first goal came on a long rebound that Jason Salvaggio collected in stride and fired past McGovern. Its fourth goal happened after McGovern blocked a Matt Dawson shot, then looked helplessly around him as the puck dropped out of his padding, allowing Andrew Poturalski to skate in and whack it into the net for his nation-best 17th goal.

Merchant scored twice for Maine, pushing his team-leading total to eight. His first, 29 seconds into the second period, cut the deficit to 2-1. In the third period, with the Black Bears on the power play, Merchant struck again, pouncing on a rebound in the slot, wheeling and firing the puck past New Hampshire goaltender Danny Tirone in one motion. That trimmed the lead to 4-3.

“The puck just squirted out. I just decided to take a quick shot on net,” Merchant said. “I tried to put it low, so if not a goal it could be a rebound for someone else.”

But Dan Correale responded with a power-play goal, lifting the puck over Maine goaltender Rob McGovern while on his knees, to restore a two-goal lead for New Hampshire.

Maine defenseman Dan Renouf scored at 13:36 to make it a 5-4 game. Forward Steven Swavely hit the post twice on a subsequent shift. And then Correale gave great effort late to pin the puck in Maine’s zone, preventing Gendron from lifting McGovern for an extra attacker until 33 seconds remained.

The Black Bears were whistled for being offside with 15.2 seconds left, and Merchant voiced his displeasure, and frustration. He was given a game misconduct penalty, and Maine never got off a quality shot.

“I said a few things and just went from there, and he threw me out. I had one foot in the zone and one on the other side,” Merchant said. “It would have given us a six-on-five. Looking back on it now, I wish I hadn’t done it.”

Said Gendron: “As it turned out, it was a neutral-zone faceoff, so the odds were piled pretty high against us at that point. But he’s a guy we count on.”

Maine and New Hampshire meet again for a fourth and final time at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in Manchester, New Hampshire. This week’s games don’t count in the Hockey East standings. But the Black Bears know what’s at stake, after two losses and a tie against the Wildcats in their previous three games.

“It’s our last game of the season with these guys, and they’re our rival,” Merchant said.

“We want revenge.”