UW Health Sports Medicine 

A lesson in streaking

<b>Mark Zengerle did not record a point in the season opener, but then had at least one in the next 20 games.</b>

Mark Zengerle did not record a point in the season opener, but then had at least one in the next 20 games.

Feb. 1, 2012

The official Gameday Program at each Badgers home series includes player profiles. This feature is just one of the exclusive items available inside the program, which is available for purchase on game day at Kohl Center or online at NationalWClub.com. Today we look at sophomore forward Mark Zengerle, who was featured in the program for the Alaska Anchorage series. | Purchase Gameday Programs


MADISON, Wis. -- An odd thing happened Jan. 14 in Mankato, Minn.--sophomore forward Mark Zengerle didn't record a point.

For the past 20 consecutive games leading up that cold night against Minnesota State, Zengerle had scored at least one goal or collected at least one assist in every contest.

The Rochester, N.Y. native's streak fell just one gut-wrenching game short of head coach Mike Eaves' record 21-game streak he set back in the 1977-78 season. Eaves did as much as he could to help extend the streak, getting the forward out for the final 29 seconds after Minnesota State sealed a 3-0 victory with an empty-net goal.

Twenty games for Zengerle ranks as the second-best in program history, eclipsing Mark Johnson's 17-game streak, also from the 1977-78 season. And let's be honest, you're doing something right if you put up a bigger number than Mark Johnson ever did.

Zengerle's streak came as part of an offensive uptick this season--one largely credited to his move from the wing to center.

"Just as far as my game goes, I feel like I'm better when I have the puck and skating up the ice," Zengerle said. "You don't really get to do that too much at wing. At center you've got a lot more free roaming in the neutral zone."

As a freshman, Zengerle put up a more-than-respectable 36 points over the season. But just five of those points came in the form of goals.

With 8 regular season games left this year, Zengerle stands at 39 points, 10 of them coming on goals. Zengerle said he's expected this increased output from himself for a while now.

"Yeah, it's something that I wanted to do definitely," Zengerle said. "I wanted to do it last year too--I had a really good start for it as far as the point production goes and then I cooled off a lot."

But cooling off this season is something Zengerle has rarely done, having put himself on the score sheet in all but three games.

Zengerle's streak may now rank among the best in school history, but let's consider for a moment some of the top streaks in sports history.

Joe DiMaggio holds arguably one of the most unbreakable streaks, having recorded a hit in 56- consecutive games. Fellow baseball great Cal Ripken, Jr., played in 2,632 consecutive games. And it if it's longevity we're talking about, you can hardly ignore the 297 consecutive regular season games Brett Favre played.

Also among some of the top streaks in sports, the 90 straight games UConn women's basketball won from 2008-2010. Or how about a mind-boggling eight consecutive NBA titles for the Boston Celtics?

It's almost impossible to imagine the 59 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings LA Dodger Orel Hershiser once threw.

In hockey, however, there's one streak that stands above all others: most consecutive games with a point.

Wayne Gretzky, who holds more professional hockey records than you can keep track of, once put together a 51-game scoring streak. More impressively, he did that all within the bounds of the 1983-84 season.

Fifty-one is, of course, 30 more games than the Wisconsin program record. But NCAA to NHL, that's apples to oranges, right? True, but how do you like these apples:

From Dec. 19, 1973- Dec. 6, 1975--almost two full seasons--Michigan State's Tom Ross set the WCHA record with at least one point in 78-straight games.

"That's not going to happen," Zengerle said with a laugh.

Much the same, Mark Zengerle should still hold himself in high esteem.

To post a statistic sandwiched between the performances of Mark Johnson and Mike Eaves is something to be proud of.

For Zengerle, now it's time to start a new streak. And no one should be surprised if he does.

"I guess you could say I've been pretty consistent," Zengerle said.

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