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BLACKHAWKS ASSIGN PIRRI AND SMITH TO ROCKFORD

Article By: Nate Haeni

Photo by Greg Hamil
01/25/2012 9:46 AM - Center David Gilbert reassigned to Toledo

Rockford, Ill.-
The Chicago Blackhawks announced on Wednesday that they have returned forwards Brandon Pirri and Ben Smith on loan to the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League. Additionally, center David Gilbert has been reassigned to the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye.

Pirri, 20, has registered two assists and a +2 plus/minus rating in five contests with the Blackhawks this year and paced Chicago with four goals and five points in four games during the 2011 preseason. The Toronto native leads the IceHogs with 18 goals and a +12 plus/minus rating. He also ranks eighth in the AHL with 41 points (18g-23a) in 41 tilts this season.

Last season, Pirri led all IceHogs rookies with 31 assists and 43 points in 70 games. Before turning pro, Pirri played one season with RPI (NCAA) and accumulated 11g-32a-43pts in 32 games with the Engineers.

Smith, 23, has recorded two goals in 13 regular-season games with Chicago this season. Additionally, the Avon, Connecticut, native shares second on the IceHogs with 12 goals and five power-play markers in 22 AHL tilts.

Originally selected by the Blackhawks in the sixth round (169th overall) of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, Smith has tallied 21 points (12G, 9A) and a +2 plus/minus rating this year with Rockford.

Smith skated in 63 games for the IceHogs during the 2010-11 season, finishing the campaign with 19 goals and 31 points (19g-12a) during his first professional season. For his efforts, Smith was named the IceHogs 2010-11 Rookie of the Year.

Gilbert, 20, has registered five points (1g-4a) in 23 games for the IceHogs this season. The Chateauguay, Quebec native has also tallied seven points (1g-6a) in 10 games for the Walleye in 2011-12.

Prior to 2011-12, the Blackhawks seventh round (209th overall) pick in 2009 played six total games with the IceHogs over two campaigns following his seasons in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, scoring two goals and two assists.

Next Home Game: Saturday, Jan. 28 vs. Milwaukee Admirals: The puck drops at 7:05 p.m. Rockford and Milwaukee meet up once again at the BMO Harris Bank Center for the IceHogs Annual Pink in the Rink Night. The ice will be pink and the IceHogs will be wearing special pink jerseys that will be auctioned off to benefit breast cancer research and awareness.

Don’t forget to follow the IceHogs on Twitter (@goicehogs) and Facebook.