Finland's Laura Lepisto surprised the field by winning the women's short program at Skate Canada Friday evening in Quebec City.
Lepisto was awarded 59.18 points for her program, ahead of American Emily Hughes, who received 58.72. Japan's Mao Asada, silver medallist at last year's world championships in Tokyo, sits third at 58.08.
Similar to the worlds, Asada, 17, struggled in her short program with sloppy jumps and footwork.
Joannie Rochette, of Ile Dupas, Que.,completed her short program in fifth place with atotal of 55.48.
Rochette, the three-time Canadian champion, landed a triple flip poorly and struggled on her double Axel and her triple Lutz.
"Everything was shaky," she admitted.
The poor flip landing forced her to change a scheduled triple-triple combo to a triple-double.
"It's getting better every time in practice," she said of her oft-absent triple-triple. "It's really getting there. It's a matter of doing it when it counts now."
She said she might have been "over-excited" on this night.
"I felt like a kid wanting to try something new," she said. "I'm sure it will be better at the next competition."
Lesley Hawker (46.96), of Barrie, Ont., and Cynthia Phaneuf (46.02) from Contrecoeur, Que., finished ninth and tenth, respectively.
The free skate will be televised Saturday on CBC Sports (2:30 p.m. ET) and will also be streamed live at CBCSports.ca.