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Sharks' Donskoi a Hit After Overtime Goal

by Staff Writer / San Jose Sharks

On the morning after the biggest goal of his life, San Jose Sharks forward Joonas Donskoi was fielding questions about his new-found celebrity status.

Approximately 15 hours earlier, the 24-year-old from Raahe, Finland scored 12:18 into overtime to give the Sharks a 3-2 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final at SAP Center. After being asked about the goal, which gave the Sharks their first win in the Cup Final, the subject turned to the hours following his achievement Saturday.

When asked if any celebrities had texted him, the rookie forward said, "My mom."

It elicited laughs from the group of reporters interviewing Donskoi, but it's likely anyone who shares his last name was being treated like an A-lister Sunday.

Donskoi said he had received "pretty many" text messages after his goal and was excited about the amount of people watching the game in his hometown, which is 10 hours ahead of the West Coast.

"It was really fun to see the response," Donskoi, who scored 11 goals and 36 points in 76 regular-season games said. "It was fun to see a lot of Finnish people watching the game. It's 3 a.m. and they wake up to watch it."

The goal was the sixth for Donskoi in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and the first overtime goal in the Cup Final by a Finnish player since Hockey Hall of Fame forward Jari Kurri did it for the Edmonton Oilers against the Philadelphia Flyers on May 20, 1987. Finnish reporter Tommi Seppala said that puts Donskoi in elite company in his home country.

"It was 29 years since Jari Kurri scored an overtime goal in the Stanley Cup Final," Seppala said. "That's remarkable. Kurri is the big thing in Finland.

"People went pretty nuts about it. He's been one of the better players in the series and he scores the overtime winner. It was crazy."

At the Sharks Store inside SAP Center, T-shirts with the words "DON SCORE" were selling quite well, the store's assistant manager Angela Bailey said. They weren't new shirts, but a tweet from the Sharks Store advertising the shirts and the buzz surrounding Donskoi's overtime goal were creating one at the cash registers as well.

Donskoi even helped make a world-wide sensation out of fellow countryman Antti Makinen, whose Finnish-language television call of the goal went viral Saturday.

"I heard it, it's nice," said Donskoi, the third Raahe product to play in the NHL; the other two from the town of about 20,000 are Nashville Predators forward Miikka Salomaki and former defenseman Janne Niinimaa, who was Makinen's partner for the Game 3 call. "They show their feelings. Antti is a great guy, I know him."

Sunday, everyone knew who Donskoi was.

"People are clicking the news, what we were writing," said Seppala, the Finnish NHL Correspondent for Yle Urheilu. "It was pretty wild."

by Bill Price @BillPriceNHL / Editor in Chief

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