ZAGREB, Croatia – Marjorie Lajoie of Boucherville, Que., and Zachary Lagha of Greenfield Park, Que., staved off two Russian couples to win the gold medal Saturday in ice dancing at the fifth stop on the ISU Junior Grand Prix circuit.

The Canadians bettered their score from their sixth place finish at the world juniors last year with 150.30 points. Sofia Shevchenko and Igor Eremenko of Russia were second at 145.05 and their compatriots Ksenia Konkina and Grigory Yakushev were third at 143.77.

‘’We just had a super experience overall this week,’’ said Lajoie. ‘’Everything from the practices to the performances went very well.’’

It was a first victory and third medal in five junior Grand Prix career appearances for Lajoie and Lagha. They won silver at the season opening event in Australia and are now qualified for the Grand Prix Final in December.

‘’Our plan here was just to skate for ourselves and not focus on the results,’’ added Lagha. ‘’We went out there to have fun and that’s what worked. For the lead up to the Final our focus will be on the technical aspects and bringing the program to another level.’’

Ellie Fisher of Lower Coverdale, N.B., and Simon-Pierre Mallette-Paque of Laval, Que., moved from sixth after the short dance to fifth.

‘’It’s a satisfying result but not exactly what we wanted,’’ said Mallette-Paque. ‘’We will continue to build on that.’’

It was a first international experience for the couple.

‘Representing Canada was pretty cool,’’ said Fisher.

It was Canada’s second medal of the competition. On Friday Joseph Phan of Laval, Que., took the silver in men’s competition.

Full results: ISU JGP Croatia Cup 2017