LAS VEGAS – Carrying a heavy heart, Canada’s Keegan Mesing brought the house down in his short program in men’s competition to stand third at Skate America, the season opening event on the ISU Grand Prix figure skating circuit.

Two-time world champion Nathan Chen of the U.S. is first with 102.71 points, Dmitri Aliev of Russia is second at 96.57 just ahead of Messing at 96.34, a personal best international score.

Less than a month ago, Messing’s younger brother Paxon was killed in a motorcycle accident. In his short, Messing skated a clean program to Ed Sheeran’s Perfect and received an emotional standing ovation from the crowd.

‘’Coming here this week was a huge decision for me with everything that happened,’’ said Messing, 27. ‘’This was a very hard skate to come to.  Just being on the ice the last few weeks has been one of the most difficult things I’ve had to do.’’

He opened landing his quad and triple toe loops then the triple Axel. He pointed to the sky as he skated off the ice.

‘’All the elements seemed pretty solid,’’ he said. ‘’I’m going to take one step at a time. I have some great support here with my wife, my parents and close friends in attendance.’’

Laurence Fournier Beaudry and Nikolaj Sørensen of Montreal are also third after the rhythm dance with 77.85. Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue of the U.S. lead the ice dance at 83.45 and Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin of Russia are third at 80.46.

‘’We had no expectations,’’ said Fournier Beaudry, 10th with her partner at last year’s worlds. ‘’We just wanted to have a good experience.’’

Montreal’s Camille Ruest and Andrew Wolfe placed seventh in the pairs short program.

Veronik Mallet of Sept-Iles, Que., stands ninth after the women’s short program.

All four free skates are on Saturday.

Full results: ISU GP 2019 Skate America