Chicago Blackhawks Farm Report: Ben Smith Shines for Rockford IceHogs Last Week
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Chicago Blackhawks prospect Ben Smith was a bright spot for the Rockford IceHogs this past week, despite the team dropping two of three games in that span.
The former Boston College forward was all over the ice, posting points in all three games for the IceHogs.
Smith, who spent a good portion of last season battling injuries, has been healthy through 15 games in Rockford. He raised his totals to five goals and two assists on the season and was a big reason that his team had opportunities to win each game last week.
Rockford began the week Wednesday night on the short end of a 5-4 decision to Peoria. Smith assisted on Jeremy Morin's tap-in goal late in the game, which tied the contest 4-4 before the Rivermen took the lead for good a few moments later.
The IceHogs hosted Houston on Friday night, punching across a pair of second-period goals and hanging on for a 2-1 victory. Smith wound up with the game-winner off assists from Brandon Pirri and Morin.
The IceHogs then fell behind Houston 2-0 at the Excel Energy Center Sunday. Smith's power-play goal halfway through the final period gave Rockford a glimmer of hope before the Aeros prevailed 3-2.
Smith is serving as an alternate captain this year. He's been active in the corners and around the net.
This week it happened to show up on the scoreboard.
Penalty Kill Comes Up Big In Win:
Rockford took a 2-0 lead into the second period on goals by Kyle Beach and Smith in the first five minutes of the middle frame. At that point, the whistles came out and the IceHogs spent a large portion of the rest of the contest down a man.
In all, Houston had eight of its nine power plays in the second and third periods. Rockford's shorthanded unit was up to the task, however. The IceHogs stopped the Aeros third-ranked power play on eight of the nine attempts, including 90 seconds of 5-on-3 time midway through the game.
The penalty kill kept Rockford in Wednesday's contest. They gave up a goal, but tallied a pair of shorthanded goals by Martin St. Pierre and Peter LeBlanc.
Los IceHogs Promotion: The IceHogs reached out to the Latino community Friday, with the team collaborating with Rockford's Coalition of Latin Leaders for a host of attractions and special events.
There were some complaints on the choice of sweater and Los IceHogs logo in the national media, but the event drew almost 5,000 to the BMO Center.
Dora the Explorer was taken off advertising for the event, due to Nickelodeon's objection to her appearing on the same poster as a beer (Corona, who helped sponsor the night). However, I spied Dora and her backpack making the rounds between periods out on the concourse.
Latino military veterans came out for the ceremonial puck drop, and Aires de Guanajuato, a 15-piece Latin band, performed between periods as well.
In Rockford's lone win this weekend, the IceHogs celebrated their Los IceHogs promotion with festive sweaters and a conga line to the penalty box.
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