On most occasions, when Michael Campbell gets the puck on his stick in a Grade A scoring area, he’s thinking it’s going in the net.
Which is why the sophomore forward was at a loss to explain his late-season scoring drought for the McQuaid Knights. He just knew the slump, which reached seven games, couldn’t continue.
“I said, ‘I have to step it up,’ ” Campbell explained.
Mission accomplished. After scoring twice in the quarterfinals, Campbell scored two more goals on Thursday night, including the winner in overtime, as McQuaid edged top-seeded Fairport 3-2 in the Section V Class A semifinals.
“Awesome, this is fun, I want to do this all the time,” Campbell said of the victory, which moved the fourth-seeded Knights into Sunday’s sectional championship game.
McQuaid (16-5-1) will play the from-out-of-nowhere, King of the Upset Penfield Patriots for the Class A title at 3:30 p.m. at RIT’s Ritter Arena.
No. 7-seeded Penfield (9-11-2) reached the title game for the first time since 2005 by defeating sixth-seeded Webster Schroeder 3-2 in overtime. Schroeder finished 8-10-3.
Brian Wall scored at 4:41 into the extra period, snapping a shot from the high slot into the lower left corner of the net. He created the scoring chance out of a one-on-one attack from his own blue line.
“It’s nice coming in as the underdog because there’s no pressure at all,” Wall said. “The other team is gripping their stick tight and we’re just having fun because no one is expecting us to win.
“It’s probably one of the biggest honors to be a part of this team,” Wall said. “We’re just a big family.”
And now that they’ve come this far … why stop?
“Our mentality as a team has been ‘nothing in life comes easy,’ ” Penfield coach Nathan Miller said. “You’ll have to climb over mountains to achieve goals.”
They’re touring the Swiss Alps right now. After stunning No. 2-seeded Pittsford, the state runnerup in 2012, in the quarterfinals, they bumped off Schroeder on Thursday. Junior goalie Patrick Massey made 25 saves and Glenn Roschetzky and Alex D’Agostino scored goals in regulation.
The Matterhorn awaits on Sunday in McQuaid. The Knights defeated Penfield in the 2005 Class A title game en route to the state championship.
On Thursday night, however, McQuaid appeared to be headed for a season-ending loss. Fairport vaulted to a 2-0 lead in the first 11:03 on goals by Mitch DeRidder and Alex Schoepfel.
“We were so excited that we couldn’t play hockey,” McQuaid coach Al Vyverberg said.
The Knights gained composure early in the second period, and Campbell’s goal at 8:32 swung the momentum in their favor.
Junior forward Michael Capicotto tied the score on a power play just 1:51 later and then it became a battle of goalies, with Fairport’s Jake Newkirk and McQuaid’s Brian Kick trading big saves for the next 19 minutes.
But Campbell finally found the net again 44 seconds into overtime, converting a perfect Capicotto pass into his 15th goal of the season.
“We may have run out of gas a bit,” said Red Raiders coach Chris Moretter, whose team finished 17-5. “But our kids gave it their all. I’m very proud of they way they battled.”