A visible error did not prevent Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir from taking the lead after the short dance at the Canadian Figure Skating Championships, but it certainly made the race for the gold a lot more interesting. The skate of the night belonged to Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje, who are currently less than a quarter of a point behind the leaders going into the free dance.
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Skating first in the final group of competitors, Virtue and Moir had a strong short dance, but Virtue stepped out and put her hand down on the first third of their twizzle sequence early in the program. But they recovered to finish the sequence and still receive a level 2 for the element, with execution deductions.
The reigning World silver medalists made a number of changes to their short dance since their last outing at the Grand Prix Final, where they finished behind training mates Meryl Davis and Charlie White. They looked to still be getting used to their revamped program, unable to achieve the highest level on all but one of their elements. Their short dance earned them a 68.41, below the 70-point range that they are used to, and it was their solid program components that kept them ahead of the rest of the pack, but not by much.
Proving that their rise this season has been no fluke, Weaver and Poje made it clear that they were not in it for second place at Canadians. They put down a fiery short dance and executed their elements well, scoring a 68.27, only 0.14 behind Virtue and Moir for first place.
Making their debut at Canadians are Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier, who teamed up earlier in the season after Poirier split with Vanessa Crone. Crone and Poirier won the title last year at Canadians. Gilles and Poirier skated a strong short dance, highlighted by a superbly-executed twizzle sequence, to put themselves comfortably in third with a 62.78.
DANCE (after the short dance)
1. Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir – 68.41
2. Kaitlyn Weaver/Andrew Poje – 68.27
3. Piper Gilles/Paul Poirier – 62.78
4. Kharis Ralph/Asher Hill – 58.92
5. Alexandra Paul/Mitchell Islam – 57.30
6. Nicole Orford/Thomas Williams – 56.58
7. Tarrah Harvey/Keith Gagnon – 53.87
8. Shanna Rene De Cotret-Laporte/Alexandre Laliberte – 42.60
9. Melissande Dumas/David Mackay Perry – 39.40
10. Anoushka Ritchie-Hervieux/Philippe Masse – 39.02
11. Larissa Van As/Troy Shindle – 38.52
12. Olga Lioudvinevitch/Benjamin Mulder – 38.37
13. Helen Letournaeu/Kevin Boczar – 37.21
14. Jazz Smyl Joly/Nicholas Jesionek – 31.60
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