UTICA — There are a few reasons for the Comets’ scorching start this season.

Sure, a skilled and talented group at forward has generated much of the attention after finding early chemistry to form a balanced attack and produce offense at an impressive rate en route to a 5-0 start.

There also has been solid goaltending from new additions in veteran Zane McIntyre and rookie Mike DiPietro while the team’s defensemen — which include four rookies among some more experienced players — have provided key contributions at both ends of the ice.

"I love our group on the backend," said steady 22-year-old Guillaume Brisebois, who is in his third pro season and has formed a good pair with standout rookie Brogan Rafferty. "Everyone can skate and move the puck well. I think we’re looking pretty good there."

While the Comets’ power play has struggled in going 3 for 22, the penalty kill unit has stepped up. The Comets have halted 23 of the opposition’s 25 power plays, which includes an 8-for-8 effort in last Saturday’s lopsided win over Rochester. The team’s 92 percent success rate ranks among the AHL’s top 5.

"We’re working really hard," said Brisebois, who noted he’s trying to be more physical this season. "We’re all devoted to the team, so it is really good for us."

The penalty kill unit has featured nearly all of the team’s young defenders and Brisebois, Olli Juolevi and Jalen Chatfield have shown a willingness to block shots. In addition to reliable penalty killers in Wacey Hamilton and Carter Bancks, young forwards in Zack MacEwen and Lukas Jasek have been among the players to get opportunities.

"The guys have done a really good job, especially with missing (Ashton) Sautner as well," Comets coach Trent Cull said. "I thought our defensemen have done a good job. With our forwards, we’ve kind of auditioned some guys, and some have risen to the top and done a pretty good job for us."

There was an added boost Wednesday for the Comets as Sautner was assigned from the parent Vancouver Canucks. The physical and steady Sautner was recalled last week with Oscar Fantenberg ill, but did not appear in any NHL games.

The 25-year-old Sautner, a key player on the penalty kill, played in the Comets’ first two games. Sautner, in his fifth pro season and one of the most experienced defensemen with the Comets, was the last player on recall with Vancouver. The move gives the Comets — who play visiting Binghamton on Friday and Saturday at Hershey — options with nine healthy defensemen on the roster.

The penalty kill has helped provide energy for the Comets. For example, Reid Boucher and Hamilton combined for an impressive shorthanded goal in the first period in the win over Rochester. The team has two shorthanded goals, which is tied for most in the league.

"If nothing else, it makes our opponent and the power play that we’re killing against, think a little bit," Hamilton said. "It maybe keeps them at bay a little bit, but our goal is to keep the puck out of our net and then work towards the other one."

The team has also turned in some quality stops on 5-on-3 penalty kills. Those are positive for the team, Brisebois said.

"That’s huge for us," he said. "It gives us confidence."