The challenge presented to the Gophers this weekend was to prove that they can be consistent. Last week's series finale victory at Notre Dame showed the coaching staff that the players have what it takes to succeed.
But could they do it regularly?
A night after shutting out in-state rival Minnesota State Mankato on Friday night on the road, the Gophers found themselves 3 minutes, 32 away from meeting that challenge with a weekend split.
Then everything fell apart. Bryce Gervais and Brett Knowles scored late third-period goals to force overtime, and Teddy Blueger scored in the final minute of the extra period to complete the Mavericks' 3-2 victory at Mariucci Arena.
"It's brutal. Going into [a bye week] and giving up a lead with four minutes left, a two-goal lead, it stinks bad right now," Gophers captain Justin Kloos said. "We're a good team when we want to be. So I guess that's what we can take away from it. When we don't want to play hard, we're less than average."
Kloos and Tyler Sheehy gave the Gophers a 2-0 lead after two periods and goalie Eric Schierhorn finished with 28 saves.
The Gophers dropped back under .500, at 4-5. The Mavericks improved to 6-6.
Gervais redirected Casey Nelson's shot with 3:32 left in the third period, ending the Gophers' bid for back-to-back shutouts. Then, with 45 seconds left and an extra attacker on the ice, Knowles evened the score, 2-2, forcing overtime.
The Gophers never caught their breath, and Blueger finished the job with 43 second left.
"The whole game it seems like we have it under control and playing well and all of the sudden they pop one in and we sort of start scrambling," Gophers junior defenseman Jake Bischoff said, "and they get another there and it goes into overtime, and I think we're still not really sure what's going on and they bury another one."
Gophers coach Don Lucia sees it as another learning lesson for his young team.
"Now they've got to learn how to play at the end of the game," Lucia said. "We're up by two with five minutes to go, we expect to win that game."
Gervais and Blueger each had a goal and an assist for the Mavericks and freshman goalie Jason Pawloski had 24 saves in his fourth career start.
"I thought we kind of went away in the third period [Friday] quietly," Mavericks coach Mike Hastings said. "I thought we faced some adversity [Saturday] and did a good job of bucking up and playing for each other and actually making some plays. … We needed that win."