ORONO — For 24 minutes and 40 seconds Friday night, the University of Maine hockey team played with desperation.

With 20.3 seconds on the clock, that turned to despair.

Connecticut forward Spencer Naas fired a shot from the left circle that hit goaltender Matt Morris in the arm, then dribbled behind him and just across the goal line for a 2-1 overtime victory at Alfond Arena.

It gave the Huskies two crucial points in the Hockey East standings and left the Black Bears empty-handed despite a belated, spirited effort.

“We didn’t come out the way we wanted to, especially at home,” Maine center Devin Shore said after his team failed to score on two first-period power plays. “That kind of haunted us. The pressure was there at times, but we dug ourselves a hole almost throughout the course of the game and we paid for it in overtime.”

The teams entered play tied for eighth in Hockey East with Merrimack, which won Friday. Maine (10-16-1, 5-8 Hockey East) will get a shot to catch back up with UConn at 2 p.m. Sunday in Hartford, Connecticut.

The Black Bears fired 42 shots on Huskies goaltender Rob Nichols, who turned them aside time after time. Morris, coming off a shutout at New Hampshire, made 33 saves and was nearly Nichols’ equal.

Connecticut (8-12-5, 5-6-2) broke on top 4:47 into the second period when Morris made an initial save, but through miscommunication with a defenseman left the puck lying to the right of the crease.

Cody Sharib was there to knock it in for his fifth goal of the season.

Maine put extreme pressure on Nichols throughout the third period. At one point, Nichols stopped a shot by Dan Renouf, another by Stu Higgins and two from Will Merchant in a five-second flurry.

Finally, Black Bears captain Shore gathered a loose puck in the slot and whistled it past Nichols’ stick at 13:55 to make it 1-1. It was Shore’s ninth goal of the season.

The Huskies controlled the final two minutes of regulation, peppering Morris to no avail.

Early in overtime, Naas and Evan Richardson tested Morris, who kept them at bay.

Maine got chances from Renouf and Jake Rutt that Nichols turned aside. Connor Leen couldn’t get the puck past Nichols from in front of the net seconds later.

But just when it appeared the teams were bound to settle for a tie, Naas grabbed the puck on a two-on-one break and put just enough on it to jolt the home team.

“I kind of cheated a little bit toward the pass and as soon as I moved, he squeaked one off my arm,” Morris said.

Maine Coach Red Gendron thought the game was actually lost at the outset.

“If you don’t play them tough for a full 60 minutes, because they don’t give you a thing, they’ll wind up beating you,” he said of the Huskies.

“The game was really lost in the first period. Because instead of generating pressure the way we should have, we had to wait until we were woken up.”

Said Shore: “It’s too late in the season to go for moral victories right now. We didn’t get the job done.”