SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Showing little sign of rust following a five-day layoff, the Portland Pirates picked up right where they left off.

Jonathan Racine and John McFarland scored 39 seconds apart during the second period Sunday, and the Pirates returned from their holiday break with a sixth straight win, 5-1 over the Springfield Falcons.

Mike McKenna stopped 35 shots for the win as the Pirates (16-11-1) inched over .500 on the road (7-6-1) before a crowd of 2,803 at the MassMutual Center. The Pirates also continued their torrid December run of 8-1-0.

Portland’s defense did a good job against a Springfield team that has lost eight of its last nine. Most of the Falcons’ shots on McKenna came from the perimeter, and the defense was able to prevent follow-up bids.

Defense has been the Pirates’ calling card during the winning streak. Portland has not allowed more than two goals in any game during the streak.

“You never know what to expect after a layoff, but our guys did a good job,” Pirates Coach Tom Rowe said. “We told the guys they needed to be ready to go as soon as the puck was dropped.”

The Pirates, who have won four of five against Springfield, broke open a close game when the quick strikes by Racine and McFarland gave them a 3-0 lead.

Racine powered a Brett Olson rebound past Niklas Truetle at 5:52 of the second. On the ensuing faceoff, the Pirates gained control and skated down the ice before McFarland snapped a high shot past Treutle’s glove.

That outburst appeared to frustrate the Falcons (12-16-1-1), who never came close to mounting a comeback.

“Those goals got us feeling pretty good,” Rowe said. “It’s not like we were relaxed, but we knew we were into our groove.”

The Pirates didn’t get too comfortable with that lead. They never stopped working.

“All of a sudden, you’re up 3-0 on the road and then you just feed off that,” Shane Harper said. “Tom always reminds us to keep our foot on the gas pedal.”

The Pirates made it 4-0 on Harper’s goal with 3:11 left in the second. He used a Springfield defenseman as a screen and drove a slap shot past Treutle.

“All our D men were giving me grief that I scored from the point,” Harper said. “When the puck came back to me at the point, I decided to just shoot it.”

McKenna lost his bid for his second shutout at 5:24 of the third period on a goal by former Boston Bruin Craig Cunningham. McKenna was down after making a save and Cunningham fought through traffic to poke the loose puck past him.

Kyle Rau closed the scoring at 11:20 of the third, converting a pass from behind the net by Greg McKegg.

The Pirates grabbed a 1-0 lead late in the first period after they negated a brief Falcons power play. Wade Megan received a lead pass from Harper, split a pair of Springfield defensemen and completed a breakaway with a wrist shot past Treutle.

“We didn’t want to get too fancy on the road,” Rowe said. “We’ve had a lot of new faces and now we’re coming together. Now we are doing what we thought we were capable of doing.”