Bridgeport took advantage of Whale turnovers to turn a two-goal deficit into two leads, but the Whale tied it off a fortuitous bounce and won it late.
"We just can't give up four goals in the third period," Bridgeport coach Scott Pellerin said.
The reunited all-Swedish line of Johan Persson, Johan Sundstrom and David Ullstrom scored four of Bridgeport's five goals. Sundstrom's two in the third broke a 3-3 tie and gave Bridgeport its first two-goal lead.
Not a minute of game time had elapsed (though there was a promotional time out in between) before the Whale's Matt Gilroy answered with the first of his two goals of the third period.
Chad Kolarik pounced to tie it with 6:30 to go after Blake Parlett's rim around the glass bounced off a stanchion to the front. Kreider was left open on an 84-second four-on-four shift to score the winner.
"They've got, obviously, good players on the ice," Sundstrom said. "It was a long shift. We got pretty tired. We should've got the puck to the blue line, got a chance, but they've got good defensemen and a skilled forward in the middle."
Attendance was 8,285, the sixth-largest announced crowd in team history, for the rivalry game. The gathering seemed to include several fans of the parent clubs, displaced by the NHL lockout. A group in Section 106 briefly chanted for NHL commissioner Gary Bettman's job.
They were scarcely in their seats before Kreider scored off a turnover. The Whale led 2-0 before Ullstrom scored on a power play.
Bridgeport (10-6) has scored the first goal five times in 16 games and trailed by two goals early in all three games against the Whale, despite winning the first two.
"It's been a bad habit. I don't know why we come out slow," Ullstrom said. "We're usually down one or two goals. It's something we need to work on."
Persson and Greenwich's Sean Backman scored off turnovers in the second period to grab a 3-2 lead, though Kris Newbury's power-play goal tied it going to the third.
"I'm happy with the compete level. The effort was there," Pellerin said.
"Sometimes you get that effort and you're not going to get the execution. ... That cost us."
Nino Niederreiter's nine-game scoring streak ended.
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1. CHAD KOLARIK, CONNECTICUT: Right place at right time to set up two goals and score another.
2. CHRIS KREIDER, CONNECTICUT: Scored two goals, including the winner.
3. DAVID ULLSTROM, BRIDGEPORT: Scored a goal and set up two others.
UNSUNG HERO: Jason Clark picked off a pass in the neutral zone to set up Sean Backman's breakaway goal.
UP NEXT: Saturday at Binghamton, 7:05 p.m.
-- MICHAEL FORNABAIO
CONNECTICUT..................................2 1 4--7
BRIDGEPORT...................................1 2 2--5
First Period -- 1, Connecticut, Kreider 3 (Segal), 1:39. 2, Connecticut, Grant 6 (Kolarik, Tessier), 12:23. 3, Bridgeport, Ullstrom 3 (Ness, Sundstrom), 14:27 (pp). Penalties -- DeFazio, Bpt (holding), 3:23; Newbury, Con, major (fighting), 8:06; Watkins, Bpt, major (fighting), 8:06; Jean, Con (holding), 9:26; Parlett, Con (boarding), 14:15.
Second Period -- 4, Bridgeport, Persson 5 (Ullstrom), 1:36. 5, Bridgeport, Backman 1 (Clark), 4:11. 6, Connecticut, Newbury 6 (Kolarik, Pyett), 8:19. Penalties -- Haley, Con, major (fighting), :24; Gallant, Bpt, major (fighting), :24; McIver, Bpt (interference), 6:17; DeFazio, Bpt (hooking), 11:41.
Third Period -- 7, Bridgeport, Sundstrom 4, 4:02. 8, Bridgeport, Sundstrom 5 (Persson, Ullstrom), 7:36. 9, Connecticut, Gilroy 4 (Bourque, Miller), 8:33; 10, Connecticut, Kolarik 3 (Parlett, Newbury), 13:30. 11, Connecticut, Kreider 4 (Pyett, Collins), 15:27. 12, Connecticut, Gilroy 5 (Hrivik, Jean), 17:54 (pp). Penalties -- Parlett, Con (roughing), 14:03; Niederreiter, Bpt (roughing), 14:03; Backman, Bpt (slashing), 16:49. Shots on goal -- Connecticut 9-10-15--34. Bridgeport 11-18-12--41.
Power play opportunities -- Connecticut 1 of 4, Bridgeport 1 of 2.
Goaltenders -- Connecticut, Talbot 6-4-0 (41 shots-36 saves). Bridgeport, Nilsson 4-1-0 (34-27). Attendance -- 8,285. Referee -- Cozzan. Linesmen -- Simeon, Colby.