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Grace Zumwinkle could be the future of USA Hockey

(Derek Leung/Getty Images)

Grace Zumwinkle is competing in her first world championships, but you wouldn’t know it by the way she is playing.

The 22-year-old was named to Team USA’s initial 2020 IIHF Women’s World Championship roster before the tournament was canceled due to COVID-19. Zumwinkle earned her spot once more and has made the most of her debut through the first three games of the 2021 worlds.

The forward scored a goal in each of the United States’ first two games. She opened the scoring against Finland and was named Player of the Game in the 3-0 win.

Zumwinkle’s first goal of the world championships came against Switzerland, extending Team USA’s lead in the 3-0 win.

The 22-year-old also helps her teammates score. On Tuesday, she assisted on Britta Curl’s opening goal in Team USA’s 6-0 win over Russia.

Zumwinkle has been setting up her teammates since her college days. At the University of Minnesota, she ranked second in the nation with 17 goals her senior year and was a finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, given to the top female college ice hockey player in the U.S. She also ranked second in the WCHA with 108 shots on goal and 5.4 shots on goal per game.

While Hilary Knight is showing no signs of slowing down, Zumwinkle’s debut indicates that the future of U.S. women’s hockey is in good hands. She’ll have another chance to prove herself in Team USA’s showdown with Canada in the final game of group play Thursday at 6 p.m. ET.