SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The call was not only questionable, but bordered on comical.

No wonder Pirates Coach Kevin Dineen was seen laughing on the bench.

Fair or not, the penalty shot call stood and Jhonas Enroth came up big to stop the bid by Tom Sestito.

Enroth’s goaltending helped carry the Portland Pirates to a 4-1 American Hockey League victory over the Springfield Falcons Sunday before 2,773 at the MassMutual Center. Enroth stopped 27 of 28 shots.

“It was a little bit surprising, but the call worked out well for us,” Enroth said. “Sestito’s a good player and I just made him make the first move.”

The controversial call came midway through the second period after Sestito went in on a breakaway. T.J. Brennan was on Sestito’s heels and slashed him just as he got his shot off, which was stopped by Enroth.

But referee Ian Croft called for the penalty shot, much to the disbelief of the Pirates. Fortunately for them, Enroth stuffed Sestito’s bid and the game remained tied at one apiece.

“That was the big play of the hockey game,” Dineen said. “Jhonas hasn’t played in a couple of games and he came out and showed really good focus. He had his game face on.”

Matt Ellis snapped the tie at 6:33 of the third period. It was a hard-working goal by the Pirates, who have won their last three games.

Dennis McCauley collected a pass from Mark Mancari and fired a shot from the left corner. His shot was purposely wide of the goal, which enabled Ellis to redirect it past Gustav Wesslau with his stick for a 2-1 Pirates’ lead.

Mark Parrish scored his second goal of the game 3:03 later to provide the Pirates with a 3-1 advantage. Parrish was on a 2-on-1 break when he slipped past the Falcons’ defense, put a deke on Wesslau and scored to put the Pirates ahead by two goals.

“You can’t put into words what Mark means to this team,” Dineen said. “His leadership is a big-league skill.”

Colin Stuart closed the scoring with an empty-net goal with 6.4 seconds remaining.

“The whole team played well,” Enroth said. “In the third period, we just shut them down and they really didn’t get any good chances.”

Both teams were playing their third game in three nights and they each had to fight through fatigue.

The Falcons are fading fast and are two points out of falling into the Atlantic Division cellar.

“They overwhelmed us in the first period (outshooting Portland, 14-5) and they played like a desperate team,” Dineen said. “Our leadership showed in the third period.”

NOTES: Kevin Dineen’s brother Peter scouted the game for Columbus. … The Pirates, who were coming off a 4-1 homestand, improved to 10-9-1-0 on the road . … Portland is 4-2 against Springfield. … The Falcons have lost three straight games.