In those conversations, Crone and Meyers spoke about their hopes of becoming linemates.
Coach Cary Eades had the same thoughts.
“When we found out Ben was returning and Hank was coming back, they were two of the dominant offensive players and pretty complementary players, so we figured they would match up well together,” Eades said. “We thought about it from the get-go.”
The two assistant captains are tied for fourth in the USHL with 56 points as the Force head into the stretch run trying to battle their way back into the Clark Cup playoff picture.
“Hank’s a playmaker and Ben’s a scorer,” Eades said. “It’s as simple as that.
“Ben can also make plays and Hank can also score. They feed off each other and have good awareness of where each other is on the ice. They’ve been a formidable pair.”
Crone is the center and Meyers is on left wing.
Jeremy Davidson is now on their right wing, but Eades has used different combinations there, with Josh Nodler spending the most time on the line.
Crone, a 21-year-old from Dallas, is committed to restart his college career at the University of Denver in the fall. After coming to the USHL as a 16-year-old, he has spent four of the last five seasons in the league, along with the 2017-18 season at Boston University.
In his third USHL season, Crone got a brief look at Meyers, who played in Fargo before his Minnesota high school season started.
“Every time I had a chance to talk to him last year, I did,” Crone said. “When I got here, I knew there was a chance to get to play with him this year and I was really looking forward to it.
“I actually talked to him about that and said, ‘Man, I really hope we get a chance to play together’ and stuff like that.”
The team is trying to work its way out of a late-season offensive slump while Crone continues to work on building the defensive side of his game.
“Personally, I’m trying to be good in my role and try to get the team to create as much offense as possible,” said Crone said, who won a gold medal with the U.S. Junior Select Team in the World Junior A Challenge in December 2016. “But I definitely think this year, I’ve really grown up on the other side of the puck and a lot of my game has been working on the 200-foot game.
“Going to Denver, that’s going to be a huge thing for me, so being able to get that kind of help from the coaching staff and the team around me has been really good. I think I’ve really gotten a lot better this year.”
Meyers, a 20-year-old from Delano, Minnesota, is fourth in the league with 27 goals. He had 24 goals and 20 assists for the Force last season before adding four goals and three assists in the playoff run.
“We both like to play fast and make plays,” said Meyers, who is committed to stay home and play at the University of Minnesota in the fall. “At the same time, Hank’s probably done a lot of more passing and I’ve done more of the shooting.
“That has worked well this year.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.