Vancouver, Canada (October 27, 2023) – 2023 World Championship bronze medallists Piper Gilles of Toronto, Ont., and Paul Poirier of Unionville, Ont., showed they are back on form Friday at the Skate Canada International competition taking place at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre in Vancouver, B.C., as they set a season’s best score in the ice dance competition.
Gilles and Poirier have won this event three times in the past, and with a score of 87.55 in the rhythm dance, they look poised to repeat again this year.
“We’re really pleased with our skate today, it’s the first competition of the season for us and it’s the first time performing this program in front of people, so I think we’re really pleased with how that went,” said Poirier. “We really took our time, and allowed the program to come to us, and that’s the way we want to approach competitions this early in the season. We want this program to emotionally grow as we go through the season, but (today) we really focussed on the skating and making sure it was clean and I think we accomplished that today.”
Lilah Fear and Lewis Gibson of Great Britain sit in second with a score of 83.51, while Allison Reed and Saulius Ambrulevicius of Lithuania sit third with a score of 75.60. Canadian skaters Alicia Fabbri of Terrebonne, Que., and Paul Ayer of Brossard, Que., currently sit seventh (68.31), while Molly Lanaghan of Doncaster, GB and Dmitre Razgulajevs of Ajax. Ont., sit 9th (65.97).
Deanna Stellato-Dudek of Chicago, USA and Maxime Deschamps of Vaudreuil-Dorian, Que., gold medallists at the 2023 Autumn Classic International in Montreal earlier this fall, dominated the pair competition and set a season’s best score of 72.55 in their short program to sit first heading into Saturday’s free skate.
“This is a fast song with lots of fast, dynamic arm movements, so we had to work a lot on that, and a lot on the intricacies of the in-between the element parts so we’re happy with that. The twists and the toes were nice, but I’m not happy with the throw,” said Stellato-Dudek following the skate.
Lucrezia Beccari and Matteo Guarise of Italy currently sit second (65.83), and Anastasia Golubeva and Hektor Giotopoulos Moore of Australia sit third (62.80). Brooke McIntosh of Toronto, Ont., and Benjamin Mimar of Terrebonne, Que., are sitting fifth with a score of 59.83, while Kelly Ann Laurin of St-Jérôme, Que., and Loucas Éthier of Deux-Montagnes, Que., sit seventh with a score of 57.14.
In the women’s competition, 2023 Canadian Champion Madeline Schizas of Oakville, Ont., is the top Canadian following the short program, despite downgrading her double axel to a single midway through her program. Kaiya Ruiter of Calgary, Alta., and Sara-Maude Dupuis of Montreal, Que., who are both making their senior grand prix debuts, are sitting 9th (55.82) and 10th (52.17) respectively following the short program.
The men’s short program closed out the event on Friday night and 2023 Canadian Championships silver medallist Conrad Orzel, of Toronto, Ont., led the Canadian men’s efforts with a score of 77.68 to head into the free skate on Saturday in 6th position.
“To be honest, I was really nervous for this competition because it’s my only Grand Prix and I really wanted to have a good showing because I felt I’ve improved a lot, and it would mean a lot for me to be able to show it. I was proud that I was able to control my nerves for my quads but I lost focus on the axel and that sort of ruined the happiness I had before the axel,” said Orzel. “I’m really looking forward to showing a good performance (tomorrow).”
Wesley Chiu had his hometown Vancouver fans cheering loudly for him as he scored a 76.94 to end the day sitting in 7th, while Aleksa Rakic of Burnaby, B.C., who was a late addition to the competition following the withdrawal of Roman Sadovsky, did himself proud in his senior Grand Prix debut scoring a season’s best 72.56 to sit 9th heading into Saturday’s free skate.
The event will wrap up Saturday with the free programs/free dance for all disciplines. For more information about the event or to view the livestream, visit skatecanada.ca. For full results, please click here.