UTICA – Sven Baertschi made a heads-up play, Zane McIntyre turned in a huge performance in net and the Comets took it from there.

Baertschi, Reid Boucher and Wacey Hamilton each scored in the first period, McIntyre totaled 45 saves and the opportunistic Comets cruised to a 7-1 victory over the Rochester Americans on Saturday in the first of 10 meetings of the season between the North Division rivals.

Baertschi (goal, two assists) and Boucher (an assist to go along with two goals to give him an AHL-best eight) each continued impressive starts with the red-hot Comets, who are 5-0-0-0 to start the season for the first time.

“It was a tough pill to swallow,” said the veteran Baertschi on being sent the to AHL. “But, I knew I was coming to a great place. So, it was something I was looking forward to. For me, it was coming here making a statement that I belong in the NHL. That was my goal. So far, I think it is going well."

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Nikolay Goldobin – who has totaled nine points in four games -- as well as Zack MacEwen and Lukas Jasek also scored for Utica, which has raced out to 29 goals in five games while allowing just 11. The Comets have scored 21 times in three home games with another contest next Friday against Binghamton.

"I wish there was like a savings account that you could tap back into (with goals),” said Comets coach Trent Cull, who acknowledged the team will enjoy the win with a trip to the Buffalo Bills game Sunday.

McIntyre – back from a brief stint this week with Vancouver — was a big part of the whole effort, including 34 saves over 40 minutes against Rochester (3-2-0-1). He’s won all three of his starts with the Comets this season.

“You just have to stop pucks. Keep it simple,” McIntyre said. “It is nice being goalie and kicking back and watching these guys go to work in the other end. It is really enjoyable.”

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Utica also got a big effort out of its penalty kill, going 8-for-8 with a pair of extended stops. They finished 1-for-5 on the power play.

Baertschi helped kickstart the effort after a slow start for the Comets. Near the middle of the first period, the NHL veteran forced a turnover behind the Rochester net and his centering pass bounced off a Rochester defender and in.

“I was trying to go to (Jasek) there,” said Baertschi, who has eight points in four games. “Over the last few games here we’ve put pressure on the goalie. It is not easy for them to handle the puck sometimes. It worked out again tonight and the last few games. It is my goal to put pressure on them.”

McIntyre was also a big reason why the Comets got out of the first period with the lead. Rochester dominated play early, accumulating 11 consecutive shots, with McIntyre making a key save on C.J. Smith on a backdoor play about six minutes into the game.

After Baertschi’s big play, Boucher gave the Comets a 2-0 lead less than a minute later on a nifty passing setup from Kole Lind and Dylan Blujus.

The Comets’ penalty kill stepped up with less than five minutes left. Olli Juolevi sent a long pass to Boucher, who found an unchecked Hamilton on the left side for his first of the season with 4:29 left before Rochester got one back three minutes later.

MacEwen pushed the Comets to 4-1 less than two minutes into the second period. On the play, Justin Bailey pushed the puck to MacEwen, who skated into the Rochester zone, created space against a sliding Rochester defender with a quality toe drag move and scored from the slot 1:08 into the period. It was his second goal of the season.

The Comets got into penalty trouble during the rest of the second period – including losing Francis Perron to a game misconduct at the 4:05 mark.

The team successfully stopped a 5-on-3 disadvantage with McIntyre making quality stops against Rochester including a glove save on Curtis Lazar from the high slot early into the kill.

The Comets successfully halted another 5-on-3 Rochester power play to start the third period with more help from McIntyre.

Utica put the game further out of reach later in the third. The Comets made it 5-1 when Baertschi made a highlight-worthy spin move to gain the zone and then found an unchecked Boucher, who quickly scored with 9:02 left.

“I was skating sort of backwards and I just spun around,” said Baertschi, who credited Juolevi with the setup pass. “Bouch is right there. I’m not not going to give him the puck because of the way he’s been scoring.”

Then, Goldobin and Jasek both scored from in tight 10 seconds apart to complete the win.

“I'm fortunate because it is a group that we're learning how to coach as well,” Cull said. “I've never coached a group like this. But, the other thing is we know we can better. We know that we can be better defensively and better in the situations where we limit more chances against. That’s certainly something we can put some time in and get better with.”