Briggs could be out a month with hand injury

Goaltender Kellen Briggs will not play this weekend against St. Cloud State.

Ben Goessling

Minnesota men’s hockey goaltender Kellen Briggs will miss this weekend’s series against St. Cloud State and could be out up to a month with an unspecified hand injury, coach Don Lucia said Wednesday.

Briggs left practice early Monday after taking a puck off his right knee and did not practice Wednesday, but Lucia would not say whether the two injuries were related.

Briggs declined to comment.

The sophomore has started 30 games this season, posting a 19-10-0 record. However, he has struggled in the second half of the season, going 4-7-0 with a 3.42 goals-against average in his last 11 games.

Briggs has split time recently with senior Justin Johnson, with each starting one game Feb. 4-5 at Wisconsin and Johnson replacing Briggs during both games of the Gophers’ series with Alaska-Anchorage on Feb. 11-12.

Johnson was in a similar situation at the end of his sophomore year when starter Travis Weber went down with a broken hand.

Johnson went 4-0 with a 2.28 goals-against average in four postseason appearances that year, being named to the WCHA Final Five all-tournament team after he backstopped Minnesota to the Broadmoor Trophy.

Johnson stopped 50 of 54 shots in that tournament.

“I’m not going to just rest on that (experience), but it does give me confidence to know I can do it again,” Johnson said. “It’s exciting, because you’re not looking over your shoulder, and you know the team is counting on you.”