KELOWNA, B.C. – Canadian skaters are in medal position in ice dancing, pairs and men’s competition after Friday’s short programs at Skate Canada International, the second stop on the ISU Grand Prix figure skating circuit.
Ice dancers Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier of Toronto and the pairs team of Kirsten Moore-Towers of St. Catharines, Ont., and Michael Marinaro of Sarnia, Ont., are in second place and Canadian champion Nam Nguyen of Toronto is third for the men.
In pairs, Aleksandra Boikova and Dmitrii Kozlovskii of Russia are first after the short program with 76.45 followed by Moore-Towers and Marinaro with a personal best 75.50 and Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov of Russia at 73.57.
Moore-Towers and Marinaro, in their sixth season together, won the Nebelhorn Trophy event earlier this month in Germany.
“We definitely took a step up from our competition in Germany,” said Marinaro. “Still we left a couple of points on the table and despite the personal best we’re looking past that. We need more than that.”
Lubov Ilyushechkina of Toronto and Charlie Bilodeau of Trois-Pistoles, Que., are fifth at 68.62 and Evelyn Walsh of London, Ont., and Trennt Michaud of Trenton, Ont., are eighth.
In ice dancing, last season’s Grand Prix Final champions Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue of the U.S. after first after the rhythm dance with 83.21. Gilles and Poirier follow closely in second at 82.58 and Kaitlyn Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker of the U.S. are third at 79.52.
“It was a fairly solid skate for this time of the season,” said Poirier. “It was a testament to the work we’ve put in to increase the speed and increase the confidence we skate with. Last year at Skate Canada we started off with a costly error so this year wanted to do better.”
World junior champions Marjorie Lajoie of Boucherville, Que., and Zachary Lagha of Saint-Hubert, Que., are seventh and Haley Sales of Kelowna, B.C., and Nikolas Wamsteeker of Burnaby, B.C., are 10th.
On the men’s side, two-time Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan was dominant in the short scoring 109.60. Camden Pulkinen of the U.S. is second at 89.05 just ahead of Nguyen at 84.08.
Nicolas Nadeau of Blainville, Que., is eighth and Roman Sadovsky of Vaughan, Ont., is 11th.
In the women’s short program, 2018 Grand Prix Final champion Rika Kihira of Japan stands first, Young Yu of South Korea is second and Alexandra Trusova of Russia third.
Two-time Olympian Gabrielle Daleman of Newmarket, Ont., is fifth improving her score by 18 points from two weeks ago at the Finlandia Open and less than six points from her personal best.
“The crowd was extra supportive and it gave me that extra boost of confidence I needed,” said Daleman. “It’s such a fun program because it is so packed with turns, difficult entries and exits and that’s exactly what I want out of it.”
Alicia Pineault of Varennes, Que., is 11th and Veronik Mallet of Sept-Iles, Que., 12th.
Competition ends Saturday with all four free skates.
Full results: ISU GP 2019 Skate Canada International