PROVIDENCE, R.I. — As far as the Portland Pirates have been concerned, the road has been filled with potholes.

But with a four-game road trip staring them in the face, the Pirates got off to a good start Sunday with a 5-2 victory over the Providence Bruins.

“Anytime you can win on the road is important because it’s hard to win in this league,” said Pirates Coach Ray Edwards, whose team is 8-11-0-0 on the road. “We’re focusing on trying to get our road game to the point where we can get to .500 and above.

“I don’t think we can make the playoffs unless we’re .500 on the road. We’ve got to find a way to get there.”

Brendan Shinnimin, who scored Portland’s first goal, also underscored the importance of commencing the week with a victory.

“This road win was pretty big in a lot of ways,” Shinnimin said. “One, we were on a five-game winning streak (entering the weekend). Throughout the year we’ve been pretty streaky, going on winning streaks and losing streaks. We lost our last game to Bridgeport (4-1 on Friday) and we were challenged to come back with a strong road game.

“We weren’t strong here in the past. To be able to start off this road trip with a win is pretty uplifting.”

The Pirates improved to 2-4-0-0 at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.

Arguably the only downside to Sunday’s victory was that Portland had trouble staying out of the penalty box and had to kill seven Providence power plays.

“I thought we were good through 40 minutes, but then we got caught up in the extracurricular stuff,” Edwards said. “It was the only way they were going to get momentum. We didn’t need to engage in a lot of those situations.

“But we found a way to get a road win, which is big. We didn’t play great on Friday, so we wanted to have a better game today. But the lesson for us is the penalties. You can’t expect your team to kill off that many penalties in a game.”

Portland (21-16-1-0) grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first period. Shinnimin tipped home the rebound of a Joel Hanley shot, and Darian Dziurzynski’s shot from deep on the left wing hit goalie Malcolm Subban (29 saves) on the shoulder and flopped over the goal line.

The Pirates broke an 0-for-17 power-play slump at 1:38 of the second period on a well-executed play.

Hanley shot the puck off the boards to the left of the cage and it bounced to Alexandre Bolduc on the opposite side. Bolduc passed to Henrik Samuelsson, who scored on a wrist shot for a 3-0 lead.

Providence (17-16-4-1) closed to within 3-2 in the third period.

The Bruins were on a power play when Wayne Simpson beat Louis Domingue (30 saves) with a shot from the left circle at 12:02. Less than a minute later, Colin Stuart scored on a one-timer.

But Greg Millier alleviated the pressure with a slap shot from between the circles at 15:58, and Bolduc later scored into an empty net.