by Brad LaPlante/CHN Reporter
When St. Cloud State’s three-year captain Spencer Meier decided to return for a fifth season, he didn’t know what would be waiting for him.
At the start of training camp, in August, Meier noticed some discomfort in his right shoulder. But he didn’t want to rest. This was his last year, and St. Cloud State had high hopes. He came back to play, not sit.
“We kind of got it going (back to normal), but not at 100 percent,” the defenseman said.
After the Huskies played Denver in early November, the team announced Meier would be out for at least a few weeks.
“It’s kind of a week-to-week thing right now,” Larson said at the time. “Hope to get him back within the next few weeks.”
The return didn’t come until early January.
“We sat down and said, ‘Hey, obviously you’re a huge part of our team,’” Meier said. “Not that the first half isn’t important, but the second half is significantly more important. For the playoff run, you want to be at 100 percent.
“For the future of the team, and to be fair to the team, we decided to take some rest.”
The Huskies more than held their own without their captain. Right now, St. Cloud State is 16-6-0 on the season, fifth in the current Pairwise and in second place in the NCHC. In the first 10 games, Meier had four goals, two assists, eight blocked shots and averaged nearly 17 minutes of ice time per game. The team has missed him, but did a great job stepping up in his absence.
While Meier might be the only one with “C” sewn on his jersey, everyone in the locker room is a leader, as far as he is concerned.
“It was ‘next man up’ mentality,” he said. “They did a great job. Going into the break, we were third or fourth in the country and second in the NCHC. All I tried to do was be there when they needed me.”
In Meier’s first game back against Minnesota two weekends ago, he had one shot and a blocked shot. The Huskies won 3-0. In the rematch, a 2-1 overtime loss, Meier had three shots and was on the ice for St. Cloud State’s lone goal.
Meier picked up an assist in the Huskies’ 4-2 loss to Colorado College the following weekend and is plus-3 in four games since returning.
“He is the heart and soul of this team,” Larson said. “Having that energy in the locker room on a day-to-day basis has been huge for us.”
The team has all…