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Lajoie and Lagha Seventh Against Stellar Field at Finlandia Trophy

ESPOO, Finland – Canadian ice dancers Marjorie Lajoie and Zachary Lagha maintained their seventh-place position after Sunday’s free dance to conclude the Finlandia Trophy figure skating competition, the fourth stop on the ISU Challenger Series.

Four-time world champions Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France took the gold with 217.54 points. Defending champions Madison Chock and Evan Bates of the U.S. followed at 208.31 and Lilah Fear and Lewis Gibson of Britain were third at 190.39.

Lajoie and Lagha, the 2019 world junior champions, ranked seventh in both programs this week finishing with 181.03. They were fourth in their season debut at the Autumn Classic International last month in Pierrefonds, Que.

‘’We were really nervous,’’ said Lagha, 22, from St-Hubert, Que. ‘’It was a good accomplishment to get through a performance like that.’’

The couple had firm objectives for this event.

‘’Every little element there was a stress for us,’’ added Lajoie, 20, from Boucherville, Que. ‘’We wanted to make sure we successfully check marked each of the sections in our program.  In the end we were quite happy about it.’’

Carolane Soucisse of Chateauguay, Que., and Shane Firus of North Vancouver climbed three spots after the rhythm dance to place 11th.

‘’We are super happy with free dance, it went as planned,’’ said Soucisse. ‘’We were confident going in. There’s some work to do on the rhythm dance but the programs are taking form and trending in the right direction.’’

The couple was delighted to perform before spectators.

‘’It was great to be in front of a crowd again and they really carried us through our free dance,’’ said Firus, fifth with his partner at the Autumn Classic International. 

In women’s competition, Madeline Schizas of Oakville, Ont., brought a huge cheer from the crowd with her eighth-ranked free skate to jump from 12th after the short program to ninth overall. The 18-year-old produced a clean program which opened with a triple Lutz-triple toe and included two other combos as well as the double Axel.

Russia was 1-2-3 with Kamila Valieva, the 2019 Junior Grand Prix Final champion earning the gold.

‘’I was really happy with my performance today,’’ said Schizas, 13th at the world championships this past March. ‘’I came here to put out my tech content some of which is new for this season.’’

Full results: http://www.figureskatingresults.fi/results/2122/CSFIN2021/index.htm

Canada’s Keegan Messing Fourth at Finlandia Trophy

ESPOO, Finland – Canada’s Keegan Messing placed fourth in men’s competition on Friday at the 2021 Finlandia Trophy, the fourth stop on the ISU Challenger Series figure skating circuit.

Jason Brown of the U.S. took the gold medal despite the fifth best free skate with 262.52 points. Two Russians were next: Mikhail Kolyada won the silver with 256.98 and Dmitri Aliev was third with 249.25.

After placing first in Thursday’s short program, Messing produced the seventh best free skate of the day to fall out of the medals with 242.58. The 29-year-old based in Anchorage, Alaska, had a great start to his program landing his opening quad toe, triple Lutz and first combo.

But he lost momentum with an unfortunate fall in between elements and another tumble at the end of his triple Lutz-triple toe combo.

‘’This event had its high and lows but it’s a great steppingstone for the rest of the season,’’ said Messing, sixth at the world championships this past March. ‘’It’s great motivation to remember who’s out there and face everything head-on.’’

In pairs, Russian skaters were 1-2 with world champions Anastasia Mishina and Aleksandr Galliamov winning the gold with 227.13 points and Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov second at 213.72. Ashley Cain-Gribble and Timothy Leduc of the U.S. were third at 193.00.

For the Canadians, first-season partners Vanessa James and Eric Radford were fifth at 190.58 after placing third in the short program on Thursday. That was more than six points better than their score in a second-place finish at the Autumn Classic International last month in Pierrefonds, Que.

‘’Some great steps in terms of growth which will helps us for the rest of the season,’’ said Radford, from Balmertown, Ont. ‘’Still this was a disappointment because we’ve been skating better than that in practice. But we are on the right path and that’s the most important thing.’’

This past April, Radford, a two-time world champion and three-time Olympic medallist, announced he was coming out of retirement to skate for Canada once again, but this time with James, a European champion and world championship medallist who formerly competed for France.

‘’We plan to show what we are capable of in the upcoming Grand Prix series,’’ said James, born in Scarborough. ‘’There were little things and missteps in both programs this week, but we are feeling more and more comfortable with each other.’’

Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro remained eighth with 184.37.

Moore-Towers and Marinaro, sixth at the world championships in March, say they’ll benefit from a full season of events this season.

‘’It was nowhere where we wanted in either program,’’ said Marinaro, 29, from Sarnia, Ont. ‘’But we have some key things to learn from and work on from home.’’

‘’We just need to compete more,’’ added Moore-Towers, 29, from St. Catharines, Ont. ‘’We’re excited to have a full season of competitions in which we can learn and take the good and bad from each competition to grow and better ourselves so we can be ready for the second half when we hope to peak.’’

The rhythm dance and women’s short program are on Saturday with the free skates for both events on Sunday.

Full results: http://www.figureskatingresults.fi/results/2122/CSFIN2021/index.htm

TEN CANADIAN SKATERS HEADED TO FINLAND FOR FINLANDIA TROPHY

OTTAWA, ON: Skate Canada will have six entries, for a total of ten skaters competing at the 2021 Finlandia Trophy in Espoo, Finland this week. Canada will have one entry in men, one entry in women, two entries in pairs and two entries in ice dance. This event is the fourth stop of the 2021 ISU Challenger Series and takes place from October 7 to 10, 2021.

Keegan Messing, 29, Girdwood, Alaska, USA, will be the lone Canadian entry in men. Last season, Messing finished sixth at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships® 2021 and brought home bronze at Skate America. He is coached by Ralph Burghart in Anchorage, Alaska, USA.

Madeline Schizas, 18, Oakville, Ont., will be the only Canadian entry in women. Last season Schizas finished first at the Skate Canada Challenge and thirteenth at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships® 2021. She is coached by Nancy Lemaire and Derek Schmidt in Milton, Ont.

National pairs team, Kirsten Moore-Towers, 29, St. Catharines, Ont., and Michael Marinaro, 29, Sarnia, Ont., will be the first of two Canadian entries in pairs. Last season they finished sixth at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships® 2021. They are coached by Bruno Marcotte, Alison Purkiss and Brian Shales in Oakville, Ont.

National pairs team, Vanessa James, 34, Scarborough, Ont., and Eric Radford, 36, Balmertown, Ont., will be the second Canadian entry in pairs. They finished second at the 2021 Autumn Classic International. This is their first season competing together internationally. They are coached by Julie Marcotte in Montreal, Que.

Marjorie Lajoie, 20, Boucherville, Que., and Zachary Lagha, 22, Saint-Hubert, Que., will be the first ice dance entry representing Canada. Lajoie and Lagha are the 2020 Canadian Silver Ice Dance Medalists and most recently placed fourth at the 2021 Autumn Classic International. They are coached by Marie-France Dubreuil, Patrice Lauzon, Romain Haguenauer, Pascal Denis and Josée Piche in Montreal, Que.

Carolane Soucisse, 26, Châteauguay, Que., and Shane Firus, 27, North Vancouver, BC., will be the second Canadian entry in ice dance. In 2020, they finished third in the Canadian Tire National Skating Championships and most recently finished fifth at the 2021 Autumn Classic International They are coached by Carol Lane and Juris Razgulajevs in Toronto, Ont.

Mike Slipchuk, Skate Canada High Performance Director will be the team leader and Dr. Shae Zukiwsky, Senior Director, Performance Excellence will be the team official at the event. Physiotherapist Pat Stanziano, Oakville, Ont., will be the Canadian medical staff onsite. Beth Crane, Burnaby, B.C., and Janice Hunter, Vancouver, B.C., will be the Canadian judges attending the event.

For more information, please visit www.isu.org.

CANADIAN ENTRIES AT ISU CS FINLANDIA TROPHY – ESPOO, FINLAND

MEN
Keegan Messing (29) / Girdwood, Alaska / Ice Palace FSC / Coached by Ralph Burghart

WOMEN
Madeline Schizas (18) / Oakville, Ont. / Milton SC / Coached by Nancy Lemaire and Derek Schmidt

PAIRS
Kirsten Moore-Towers (29) and Michael Marinaro (29) / St. Catharines, Ont., and Sarnia, Ont. / Skate Oakville / Coached by BrunoMarcotte, Alison Purkiss and Brian Shales

Vanessa James (34) and Eric Radford (36) / Scarborough, Ont., and Balmertown, Ont. / EPJM and C.P.A. Saint Leonard / Coached by Julie Marcotte

ICE DANCE
Marjorie Lajoie (20) and Zachary Lagha (22) / Boucherville, Que. and Saint-Hubert, Que. / CPA Boucherville and CPA Saint Lambert / Coached by: Marie-France Dubreuil, Patrice Lauzon, Romain Haguenauer, Pascal Denis and Josée Piche

Carolane Soucisse (26) and Shane Firus (27) / Châteauguay, Que. and North Vancouver, BC. / CPA Repentigny / Coached by Carol Lane and Juris Razgulajevs