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Justin Ducharme knows how to contribute in Laval

With three straight wins against one of their main foes in the playoff race, the Syracuse Crunch, we can say that the Laval Rocket had a really good week at Place Bell.

With a combined score of 13-4 in those three matchups, it’s obvious that there is a multitude of reasons that explains Laval’s good play as of late. One of them is the contribution of players who played with the Trois-Rivières Lions like Peter Abbandonato, Kevin Poulin, Cameron Hillis and Justin Ducharme.

Ducharme played particularly well during that week against Syracuse. We can argue that, at 5 on 5, he was Laval’s best player against the Crunch. That level of play led to the first goal for the Rocket in Saturday’s game.

The numbers are pretty jarring when you focus on his 5 on 5 play versus Syracuse during that week. His 65.79% Corsi percentage was the best oo the team with a healthy lead to his closest teammate (Harvey-Pinard at 60.78%).

That number means that for each Crunch shot attempt when Justin Ducharme was on the ice, the Rocket almost had two. It’s the kind of performance that you rarely see at the pro level, especially when you study a sample of more than one game.

Ducharme scored in the last game against Syracuse but it was in the first matchup where he was the most dominant by being on the ice for 11 Laval shot attempts and a lone one from the Crunch at 5 on 5. Cameron Hillis got all the recognition after that game thanks to his two goals but there was a lot of Justin Ducharme in that performance.

Ducharme sure knows how his bread is buttered, which helps him contribute to the team at both ends of the ice.

“I just keep my game simple” explained Justin Ducharme when he was asked about his success with the Rocket last week. “I work as hard as I can. I try to work in my strengths. My strength is speed, but also bringing energy, put some pucks on net and make some hits. This is what I try to do during every shift. Up until now, it paid off.”

He is right when he says it paid off. Against the Crunch last week, he was dominant with a +14 scoring chances differential at 5 on 5. This put him at the top of the team with a good gap in front of his next teammates (Abbandonato, Ouellet and Belpedio).

That good performance allows him to be fourth among Rocket forwards when it comes to scoring chances differential at 5 on 5 despite playing only six games with the team this season. Even better, the three guys have NHL experience; Rafaël Harvey-Pinard, Jean-Sébastien Dea and Alex Belzile.

It’s extremely impressive to see the strong impact of Justin Ducharme during his few Rocket games. When we think about playoff success or even success during a playoff push, we often think about the organization’s best prospects. The truth is, and we saw it versus the Crunch, players like Ducharme who are able to be dominant in a depth role are insanely important.