Gilles and Poirier stand third after short dance

MILWAUKEE – Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier of Toronto are in third place after the short dance at Skate America, the first stop on the ISU Grand Prix figure skating circuit.

World championship silver medallists Madison Chock and Evan Bates of the U.S. stand first at 70.56, Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov of Russia second at 62.76 and Gilles and Poirier follow at 61.33.  Earlier this month the Canadians won gold at an international event in Slovakia.

‘’It was important for us to come into this season competition ready,’’ said Poirier. ‘’So far we’ve shown that this season. I was pleased with how we made the necessary adjustments with the event in a smaller rink and it worked out really well.’’

In pairs, world junior silver medallists Julianne Séguin of Longueuil, Que., and Charlie Bilodeau of Trois-Pistoles, Que., are in the medal mix.  They produced clean short program standing fourth with 64.85 points which bettered their score from the world juniors.

Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim of the U.S. lead at 69.69, Wenjing Sui and Cong Han of China are second at 68.28 and their compatriots Xuehan Wang and Lei Wang third at 64.95.

Séguin and Bilodeau opened their senior level international career at the Nebelhorn Trophy in Germany last month placing fifth.

‘’We showed what we can achieve at this level today,’’ said Séguin, 18. ‘’Over the past three weeks we’ve worked really hard in training and have regained our confidence. We did really well and we are very pleased.’’

Bilodeau says entering the senior circuit has forced them to elevate their game.

‘’It’s super exciting to compete at this level,’’ he said. ‘’Definitely we’ve increased the difficulty of our two programs in put a lot more detail into our choreography as well.’’

In women’s competition, Alaine Chartrand of Prescott, Ont., stands sixth after a clean short program. Evgenia Nedvedeva of Russia leads with Gracie Gold of the U.S. second and Satoko Miyahara of Japan third.

‘’It didn’t go exactly the way I wanted,’’ said Chartrand, 19. ‘’I thought my combination jump in particular could have been better. Still it’s a good start to the Grand Prix season and I want to show more improvement in the long.’’

Canada is not entered in men’s singles.  All four free skates are on Saturday. Live streaming is available at starting at 2:20 p.m.(EDT)

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