The Stockton Record
STOCKTON, Calif. – Lance Monych came to Stockton in search of playing time and a chance to work on his hockey skills.
He found what he was looking for with the Thunder, but doesn’t have any idea how long his visit will last.
Monych, a right wing, has four goals in five games since being sent to the Thunder by its NHL affiliate, the Phoenix Coyotes, from their American Hockey League club.
The Coyotes haven’t announced how long Monych will stay, but he will be with the Thunder when it hosts the Bakersfield Condors on Saturday at Stockton Arena.
Monych, 21, was sent to the Thunder from the San Antonio Rampage of the AHL, who inherited a few Coyotes during the Olympic break. He said he doesn’t worry about when, or if, he’s going back to Texas.
“I came here to get on the ice and get experience, and it’s been great so far,” Monych said. “I don’t control how long I’m here, so I’ll just settle in and do what I can.”
He is the second player the Coyotes have assigned to Stockton (8-31-9). The first was forward Landon Bathe, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in November.
Monych has given a nice jolt to a team that has struggled offensively.
“When you get a guy like that who comes in from another level, it helps everyone around him,” Thunder defenseman Geno Parrish said.
Monych has scored in each of the three games he has played at the Stockton Arena. He has shown he doesn’t mind mixing it up on the boards and has a quick shot that ECHL goalies have had trouble blocking.
“It’s an NHL shot,” Thunder coach Chris Cichocki said. “It’s that good. He just needs to keep working on it.”
The Coyotes selected Monych in the fourth round of the 2002 NHL Draft. The 6-foot-2 native of Winnipeg had not been getting much playing time with the Rampage this season, seeing limited action in 36 games.
“The most important thing for a young player like Lance is that he gets some playing time, and it was tough here,” San Antonio coach Pat Conacher said. “I knew Chris (Cichocki) would put him out there and let him work on his game. I know he’s gone to Stockton and really produced, which is great to see.”
Phoenix officials should decide in the next week or two whether Monych will stay with the Thunder for a while or head back to San Antonio.
“That’s up to Phoenix, but we’re happy to have him here,” Cichocki said. “Heck, he can stay as long as he likes.”