ORONO — Brian Morgan watched the puck slide toward him in overtime and had all the time in the world to ponder what had transpired for his Maine hockey team.

The four losses to open the season. Settling for a tie last Saturday despite outplaying Alaska-Anchorage. Blowing a three-goal lead in the second period and a two-goal lead in the third against Massachusetts on Friday.

A month’s worth of frustration was vented in one wicked slapshot. Morgan almost came out of his skates on his one-timer from the right circle that banged off Minutemen goaltender Henry Dill and into the net for a 6-5 Black Bear win before an announced crowd of 3,378 at Alfond Arena.

Soon, Morgan was off his skates as his teammates swarmed him into the corner to celebrate both a victory and a catharsis.

“I just opened up, pivoted backwards and (Devin Shore) found me, good vision on him. I just took the one-timer, found the net,” Morgan said of his shot 53 seconds into overtime.

“It’s a big shot so I tried to connect with it as much as I could.”

Maine (2-4-1, 1-0 Hockey East) won its league opener despite losing momentum twice to the Minutemen (2-4, 1-3). The Black Bears, who had to settle for a 3-3 tie in their last outing against Anchorage, put up three goals in the opening 21 minutes Friday. UMass used a couple of great individual plays by Dennis Kravchenko to cut that margin to 3-2, then tied it on a Ray Pigozzi goal 15:07 into the second period.

Maine Coach Red Gendron said he contemplated calling a timeout then to try to calm his team. He decided against it.

“I said, ‘You know what, let’s see how our team reacts.’ Because the moment I call a timeout, the psychological, subconscious suggestion is perhaps that there’s something wrong,” Gendron said. “Truth be told, in the second period we dominated the period and it was like every time they got a chance they put it in.”

Shore scored on a wraparound with 20.2 seconds left in the second to send Maine into the locker room up a goal. It also became Maine’s highest-scoring game of the season.

Steven Swavely scored his second goal of the game, and the season, 3:49 into the third.

Again UMass rallied, eventually tying the score with 1:55 remaining on a Mike Busillo slapshot.

Overtime loomed with the momentum on the Minutemen’s side.

“We knew we had five minutes to win the game and that’s all we were focused on,” Swavely said.

After Matt Morris turned away a Massachusetts shot, the Black Bears found themselves with a four-on-two. Connor Riley passed to Shore while Morgan waited for his shot to end the agony.

“We said from the start, ‘We’re going to win it this shift,’ and we attacked and we did what we wanted to do,” said Morgan, a sophomore from Windham, New Hampshire, whose goal was his first this season.

“I’d like to say it’s probably the most exciting (goal) so far for me. But anytime you score in the Alfond, it’s big and I’m just glad we got the win, glad I could put it away.”

Morgan was exceedingly active all game, with a team-high eight shots on net.

Gendron praised him for not missing when his chance arrived.

“Great athletes, they get an opportunity like that, they make the play,” Gendron said. “And Brian Morgan made the play tonight. Kudos to him. He did his job to put us in the win column in the first game in Hockey East.”

The teams meet again here at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Mark Emmert can be contacted at 791-6424 or at:

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Twitter: MarkEmmertPPH