Pilon has been paired with Ivan Provorov so far this season but with the import blueliner playing with the Russian team at the World Junior Hockey Championship, Erkamps has taken his spot alongside Pilon for the last two games.
It's a partnership that began when the two were paired together for much of the 2012-13 season with the Lethbridge Hurricanes -- Pilon's rookie and Erkamps' sophomore season in the WHL.
“We’ve been playing for a while together and I’m glad to be back with him,” said Erkamps, “It’s pretty easy playing with him. He’s pretty calm and stuff so just give him the puck and he’ll break the puck out so it wasn’t much of an adjustment.”
Erkamps has seen most of his 5-on-5 ice-time in recent weeks alongside rookies Mark Taraschuk and Mark Matsuba so playing with a more experienced partner is definitely a little different animal.
“There’s things he does different than Mark and Mark do so there’s little adjustments but nothing too major,” said Erkamps, “Playing with a veteran guy, he can help me out and stuff if I’m having a struggling game...just give the puck to him more and he controls it. That’s why it’s a partnership, to gain chemistry and to help each other.”
The Wheat Kings allowed just two goals and 56 shots against in their back-to-back wins over the Moose Jaw Warriors to open their second half this past weekend, and that type of strong defensive play is something Brandon is looking to improve upon in the second half.
“We’re limiting the chances and I think our forwards are big part in helping backchecking and tracking,” said Erkamps, “Our D has been having sticks on pucks and directing them away from the net and I think that’s a big part.”
Brandon enters Tuesday’s home game against the Prince Albert Raiders (7:00 p.m., Westman Communications Group Place) with a four-point lead over second-place Medicine Hat in the Eastern Conference standings.
Chaff...it looks like Brandon F Jesse Gabrielle (illness) will miss his third straight game Tuesday after missing practice on Monday...Tuesday’s game is the second of six meetings between the Raiders and Wheat Kings this season and first for the two teams in Brandon. The Wheat Kings were 6-3 winners in Prince Albert on November 29th... Brandon has the WHL’s best home-ice winning percentage at .806 (13-2-3-0 record)...Ivan Provorov was pointless in Russia’s 3-2 loss to Sweden Monday at the World Junior Championship and has one assist and a +3 rating in three games for the 1-1-0-1 Russia squad.