Wheatie a scoring machine

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:25 AM ET

In the 2001-02 Brandon Wheat Kings media guide, Lance Monych's nickname is registered as "Lance Romance."

It's not known if he still carries that handle today, but the 20-year-old Winnipegger sure is breaking a lot of goaltenders' hearts in this spring's WHL playoffs. The former star of the Winnipeg Hawks AAA bantam squad has a league-leading 11 goals in 14 playoff games for the Wheat Kings.

"I've been able to get a few goals, so it seems all right, I guess," the modest right-winger said Sunday night from Brandon. "The team's doing well."

The Wheat Kings are in the Eastern Conference final for the third time in four years, this time against the Prince Albert Raiders. The teams split the opening two games in Brandon over the weekend, and Game 3 will be played tonight in P.A. at sold-out Art Hauser Centre.

Game 4 goes tomorrow night in P.A., with Game 5 slated for Friday night in Brandon.

'A LOT OF PRIDE'

"They have a lot of pride in their hockey team," Monych said of Raiders fans. "It's a small place, and they've only made it to the first round for the last few years, so they're an excited town now that they're in the third round."

Monych is bang on when he notes that Raiders fans are starved for playoff hockey. Brandon bounced P.A. in the first round last year, and the Raiders missed the playoffs in the three seasons before that.

The Raiders' presence in the conference final is somewhat surprising, considering they were 31-32-5-4 during the regular season, but they are riding the hot goaltending of Winnipegger Rejean Beauchemin.

"We gotta get a lot of pucks to Reggie," Monych said.

Monych, along with fellow veterans Tim Konsorada, Eric Fehr and Ryan Stone, will lead the Wheat Kings as far as they're going to go, but not in the way you might think.

'LEAD BY EXAMPLE'

"We're not the most vocal guys," said Monych, who's playing on a line with Stone and Jeff Topilko. "We just like to pretty much lead by example. It's sort of like if we play good, the team follows, and that's the way it's been all year.

"We're such a tight group that you don't really single guys out. It's known that if someone does something (wrong), you can just talk about it, and that's that.

"It's not a yelling match and stuff like that. We're fortunate enough to have all good guys and everyone's friends."

That camaraderie would probably make their WHL championship celebration one heck of a shaker.

"It is my fifth year," Monych said. "I know for sure that there's no way I'm coming back here, so it would be a good way to finish it off.

"This is my third time to the third round, so it'd be huge to get past this round and who knows? ... We'll see what happens, but it would be exciting."

AROUND THE GLASS: Monych will play in his club record 68th playoff game tonight ... Brandon was 3-1-1 in Prince Albert during the regular season.


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