ROCHESTER, NY – RIT head coach Scott McDonald is proud to announce the women’s hockey captains for the 2015-16 season. Taylor Thurston (Kanata, Ontario/All Saints Catholic) and Jess Paton (Woodstock, Ontario/Waterloo K-W Rangers) will serve as captains for the season, while Carly Payerl (Kitchener, Ontario/Resurrection Catholic) and Cassie Clayton (Pickering, Ontario/PEAC School) are the assistant captains.
“All four women are very deserving,” said RIT head coach Scott McDonald, who recently completed his ninth season behind the bench. “They have learned from a big (graduating) senior class and now it is their time to take more of a leadership role. All four are very different on and off the ice; they complement each other very well, which is what you want in your leadership group.”
Thurston is the lone member of the group to have experience in the captain’s role, serving as an assistant in 2014-15. A strong two-way defenseman, Thurston was named the 2015 College Hockey America Individual Sportsmanship Award winner. She took just two penalties while playing in all 39 games, recording 12 points on a goal and 11 assists. On Jan. 30, 2015, Thurston scored her first collegiate goal and added two assists in a 5-4 overtime win at Lindenwood. She enters her junior season having appeared in 77 contests with 19 career points on a goal and 18 assists.
“Taylor is our most consistent player and she was groomed into this role, serving as an assistant captain last season,” said McDonald. “She will join the company of some very special players in this program such as Sarah Dagg and Kim Schlattman, as three-year captains, which is great company to be in.”
Paton enjoyed a strong junior season in 2014-15, recording 13 points on six goals and seven assists, while playing on a line with fellow captain Clayton for most of the year. Paton enters her senior season with 31 career points on 15 goals and 16 assists in 111 career games. She has four career power-play tallies, three game-winners, and a shorthanded goal.
“Jess is one of the hardest working players on the team and could have been a captain last season,” said McDonald. “She is a vocal leader and this was an easy decision to make her a captain for 2015-16.”
Payerl will enter her senior year fresh off of scoring RIT’s final three goals of the 2014-15 season, including the double-overtime game-winner in the CHA Championship over Syracuse and both goals in the NCAA Quarterfinal at Minnesota. She finished her junior season with 13 points on seven goals and six assists and enters her final year with 28 career points on 14 goals and 14 assists in 108 games.
“Carly is arguably our most talented player and it showed late in the year,” said McDonald. “She can be an elite player at this level and has emerged as a vocal leader on the ice and in the locker room. We are very excited to see her have a big senior season.”
Clayton was named to the CHA Championship All-Tournament Team in 2014-15 and despite missing the first 12 games of the season, tallied eight points in 27 games. She is RIT’s top defensive forward, consistently shutting down the opponents best offensive threats. Clayton enters her junior season having recorded 15 points on seven goals and eight assists in 63 career games.
“Cassie is a heart and soul player who plays with a ton of passion,” said McDonald. “She does whatever it takes to win, can play whatever role is given to her, and has emerged as a shutdown defensive forward.”
The Tigers will enter the 2015-16 season looking for their third straight College Hockey America title. In 2014-15, RIT made history by winning its second consecutive College Hockey America Championship, advancing to the NCAA Tournament for the first time as a Division I program since moving up in 2012.