The 2016-17 American Family Insurance ALL-USA Girls Hockey Teams were selected by USA TODAY High School Sports based on performance, level of competition and strength of schedule.
COACH OF THE YEAR: Sami Reber, Edina (Minn.)
Armed with the heaviest shot in all of Minnesota, Grace Zumwinkle put that ability to good use this season for the Breck School. The 5-foot-9 senior overpowered defenses and goalies, scoring 42 goals (to go with 16 assists) for the Mustangs, who reached the Section 5A championship game, losing to eventual state champion (Hopkins, Minn.) Blake School.
“Grace had a very strong season this year and really elevated her game to the next level,” Breck head coach Ronda Englehardt said. “She is a strong player with an even harder shot, making her a dangerous offensive threat.”
But Zumwinkle’s biggest goal of the winter didn’t come on a booming slapshot. It didn’t even happen in Minnesota. It came in the middle of January in a rink in the Czech Republic as Zumwinkle knocked home a rebound with 2:32 remaining in the third period to break a 1-1 tie against archrival Canada in the gold-medal game of the International Ice Hockey Federation Under-18 Women’s World Championships. After assisting on an empty-netter with 5 seconds left, Zumwinkle and the United States were world champions.
Zumwinkle was named MVP of the game, her second such honor in two games. In the semifinals against Russia, Zumwinkle had a hat trick in Team USA’s 6-0 victory. The future Minnesota Golden Gopher finished the tournament with four goals, two assists and a plus-six rating. She was the tournament leader in goals and plus-minus and tied for the lead in points.
Zumwinkle missed five games to skate for the national team but she returned to the ice for Breck and got right back to doing what she does best—scoring goals.
“After winning with the U18 team, Grace returned like she didn’t miss a beat,” Englehardt said. “She came back motivated to be a leader for our team and do her part in helping our team be successful.”
Zumwinkle, whose hardest shot has been clocked at 80 mph—scored at least one goal in seven consecutive games upon her return, including the game-winner in the Mustangs’ 2-1 win against Princeton (Minn.) in the sectional semifinals.
For the season, Minnesota’s Ms. Hockey winner scored at least one goal in 19 of 23 games and recorded nine hat tricks. She finished her prep career with 156 goals and 85 assists in 130 games.
LOOKBACK: ALL-USA Preseason Girls Hockey Teams