(November 6, 2009 - NAGANO, Japan) – Ice dancers Vanessa Crone of Aurora, Ont., and Paul Poirier of Unionville, Ont., are in fourth place after Friday’s compulsory dance at the NHK Trophy ISU Grand Prix figure skating competition.

Meryl Davis and Charlie White of the U.S., lead the ice dance field with 38.09 points, Sinead Kerr and John Kerr of Britain are second at 35.04 and Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Sololiev of Russia third at 31.72.

Crone and Poirier, fourth two weeks ago at the Grand Prix stop in Moscow, earned 30.51 points. Allie Hann-McCurdy of Nanaimo, B.C., and Michael Coreno of Delhi, Ont., stand in ninth place.

In women’s singles, Cynthia Phaneuf of Contrecoeur, Que., is seventh at 47.22 after the short program.  Ashley Wagner of the U.S., leads at 56.54, Miki Ando of Japan is second at 56.22 and her compatriot Yukari Nakano third at 54.92.

Phaneuf, in her season debut, was disappointed to fall on her triple Lutz.

“The Lutz was a mess,” said Phaneuf, 21, in her fourth season on the circuit. “My practices went well all week then I started having trouble with it in warm-up. When I fell on it, it really affected my concentration for the rest of the program. It was an unusual situation for me.”

In pairs, Mylène Brodeur of Stanbridge-Station, Que., and John Mattatall of Wallace, N.S., are sixth after the short program with 51.10 points, but only a little over four points out of third. Paige Lawrence of Kennedy, Sask., and Rudi Swiegers of Kipling, Sask., in their senior Grand Prix debut, are seventh at 47.32.

“Apart from missing our throw triple loop we were very pleased with our program,” said Brodeur, sixth with her partner in Moscow. “Our short program score was better than in Moscow but there are still some elements such as our lifts we were hoping to score better on. Still we are in a good position results wise and we still have an opportunity to move up in the standings.”

Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov of Russia are first at 68.90, Qing Pang and Jian Tong of China second at 67.40 and Caydee Denney and Jeremy Barrett of the U.S., third at 55.20.

In men’s singles after the short program, Vaughn Chipeur of Edmonton and Jeremy Ten of Vancouver are 10th and 12th respectively.  Brian Joubert of France leads with Americans Jeremy Abbott and Johnny Weir in second and third.

“My triple Axel was a little off but I fought through the other elements and the rest of the program felt pretty good,” said Chipeur.

“It was O.K., but not my strongest,” said Ten. “I didn’t get the levels I wanted and I know I can do better in the long program.”

Competition continues Saturday with the long programs in women’s singles, men’s singles and pairs. In ice dancing, the original dance is on Saturday and the free dance on Sunday.

The competition is being carried live on-line at www.skatebuzz.com. Saturday’s action gets underway at 10:40 p.m.(EST) on Friday with the original dance.

For more information visit: www.isu.org

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