HARTFORD -- A shaky first few minutes gave way to a decent enough two periods Friday. The Bridgeport Sound Tigers were still where they'd been 16 times before without a win: trailing going to the third period.
The Sound Tigers had been 0-15-0-1 when trailing after two periods. Coach Scott Pellerin brought that up in the second intermission.
"We thought this was the time," forward Blair Riley said.
Bridgeport, which lost in a shootout Thursday at home despite playing a strong game against Providence, fell behind 2-0, then 3-2, then 4-3 after two.
John Persson put away a power-play rebound with 12:50 remaining to tie it again. In overtime, Backman won a neutral-zone faceoff, Jon Landry sent Persson into the zone, and Persson put a shot on net as Backman went to the front.
Backman backhanded the rebound out of midair past Cam Talbot to win it.
"It was a big play by Lands," Backman said. "Pers took it to the middle and got it on net. I was lucky I was ready to pounce."
Backman got an assist on Bridgeport's third goal, Jack Combs' at the front of the net off Brock Nelson's setup.
"I was really happy with the way Sean Backman played," Pellerin said. "With his energy and work ethic, to me, he was our best player. ... I tried to get him out on the ice as much as I could."
Kevin Poulin made 32 saves. Veteran Kris Newbury was credited with just two of them and only one in the third period, but it looked as if Poulin robbed him point-blank three times in a row with about four minutes left.
It could've all gone wrong from there for Bridgeport.
"It kind of started with our line. Our first two shifts, we got scored on," Riley said. "We've got to set a tone as leaders. Our job is to take care of our end first."
Riley was at the front of the net to tip in Ty Wishart's shot 22 seconds into the second to tie it up, after Matt Watkins' deflection cut the lead in half in the first.
Former Sound Tigers forward Micheal Haley scored on a power-play breakaway when the Whale caught the Sound Tigers' defense changing, but Combs scored a little over eight minutes later.
Bridgeport called up goalie Kenny Reiter from the ECHL to rest Anders Nilsson, though he hadn't arrived for Friday's game. Pellerin said Nilsson "isn't 100 percent" and will be further evaluated medically. The goalie had a similar situation early in the season, saying he was not physically where he expected to be.
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1. SEAN BACKMAN, BRIDGEPORT: Greenwich's own scored the winner, had an assist, played well all around.
2. JOHN PERSSON, BRIDGEPORT: To the net to score the tying goal; got the puck to the net for the winning goal.
3. J.T. MILLER, CONNECTICUT: Rookie had two assists, on the Whale's first and last goals.
UNSUNG HERO: Jon Landry made a couple of big defensive plays in the third period and assisted on the winner.
UP NEXT: Saturday vs. Norfolk, 7 p.m.
-- MICHAEL FORNABAIO
Bridgeport.....................................1 2 1 1--5
Connecticut...................................2 2 0 0--4
First Period -- 1, Connecticut, Tessier 8 (Miller, Yogan), :38. 2, Connecticut, Segal 13 (Newbury, Vernace), 5:41. 3, Bridgeport, Watkins 8 (Donovan, Kabanov), 7:41. Penalties -- Carroll, Con (hooking), 3:13; McIver, Bpt (interference), 10:29.
Second Period -- 4, Bridgeport, Riley 5 (Wishart), :22. 5, Connecticut, Haley 5 (Vernace), 7:24 (pp). 6, Bridgeport, Combs 3 (Nelson, Backman), 15:49. 7, Connecticut, Parlett 4 (Miller, Thomas), 19:34 (pp). Penalties -- McIver, Bpt, major (fighting), 3:54; Mashinter, Con, major (fighting), 3:54; Cantin, Bpt (high-sticking), 6:19; Bridgeport bench, served Niederreiter (too many men), 19:18.
Third Period -- 8, Bridgeport, Persson 15 (Ness, Wishart), 7:10 (pp). Penalties -- Newbury, Con (delay of game), 5:33; Wishart, Bpt (interference), 7:48. Overtime -- 9, Bridgeport, Backman 5 (Persson, Landry), 1:57. Penalties -- None. Shots on goal -- Bridgeport 6-13-18-4--41. Connecticut 11-17-7-1--36.
Power play opportunities -- Bridgeport 1 of 2, Connecticut 2 of 4. Goaltenders -- Bridgeport, Poulin 13-10-3 (36 shots-32 saves). Connecticut, Talbot 15-18-0 (41-36).
Attendance -- 4,952.