Finnish fans tuning into the Stanley Cup final have two national heroes to cheer for in Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta and San Jose Sharks winger Joonas Donskoi, but only one has been the cause of the best goal call of the post-season.
Throughout Game 3, Donskoi, a member of the Sharks’ second line, had a few chances to either tie the contest or put San Jose ahead but wasn’t able to capitalize. However, after a third-period goal by Sharks winger Joel Ward set up overtime in Saturday’s game, it was Donskoi who managed to net the game winning goal on a brilliant move and perfectly placed shot in the extra frame.
With less than eight minutes remaining in the first overtime, Donskoi helped create a cycle behind the Penguins net that resulted in Chris Tierney putting the puck back on Donskoi’s stick. Cutting around the net, Donskoi warded off the Penguins’ Evgeni Malkin and an oncoming Justin Schultz to find a sliver of space over the shoulder of goaltender Matt Murray for the game-winning tally.
The goal itself was nice, as were the calls by NBC’s Mike Emrick and CBC’s Jim Hughson. That said, neither of the play-by-play men could match the excitement of Antti Makinen, Viasat’s game-caller, who delivered the goal call of the playoffs:
Donskoi’s goal being paired with the absolute madness that is Makinen’s call makes for one of the best highlights of the post-season. It takes nearly a full half-minute from the time Makinen starts hollering into the microphone until he finally seems to settle down.
While Hockey Night’s Harnarayan Singh has delivered some great Punjabi calls — just listen to Sidney Crosby’s overtime-winner in Game 2 and consider that “BoninoBoninoBonino” has taken on a life of its own — it’s hard to match the all-out elation found in Makinen’s call. It would have been one thing for someone to end the game in overtime, but that it was Donskoi, a Finnish national, no doubt made Makinen’s call that much more emphatic.
At this point, regardless of who you may be rooting for, it seems like the best possible way for this series to end would be a Maatta or Donskoi Stanley Cup-clinching goal. It may be the last game Makinen ever calls because his voice would surely be shot, but it would make for an absolutely unforgettable call.