Road To The Olympic Games

Canada's Messing skates to gold in men's event at Nebelhorn Trophy

Keegan Messing of Sherwood Park, Alta., is off to a flying start in the 2018-19 season as he won the gold medal in the men’s event on Saturday at the Nebelhorn Trophy figure skating competition in Obeltsdorf, Germany.

Ice dance duo Gilles and Poirier took top spot earlier in tournament

Canada's Keegan Messing, seen in this file photo, won gold in the men's event at the Nebelhorn Trophy in Obertsdorf, Germany on Saturday. (Luca Bruno/The Associated Press)

Keegan Messing of Sherwood Park, Alta., is off to a flying start in the 2018-19 season as he won the gold medal in the men's event on Saturday at the Nebelhorn Trophy figure skating competition in Obeltsdorf, Germany.

Messing interpreted a Charlie Chaplin routine in his free skate and collected 257.16 points. Alexander Majorov of Sweden was second at 226.64 and Artur Dmitriev of Russia third at 225.31.

''To finish on top at my first international of the season feels fantastic,'' said Messing, eighth at the world championships last season.

''Right now I feel like I have a really good plan with my coach. We didn't have the quad Lutz today but we hope to have it ready at Skate Canada [October 26-28 in Laval, Que.]. We want to play it smart this season.''

In pairs, Elisa Efimova and Alexander Korovin of Russia finished ahead of two American couples for the win. Evelyn Walsh of London, Ont., and Trent Michaud of Trenton, Ont., were seventh in their international debut at the senior level.

''It was definitely an eye-opening experience for us,'' said Walsh. ''We had a lot of fun and learned about the senior category and about each other. We need to go home and work super hard for Skate Canada.''

Canada ranked second in the team standings. The U.S. was first and Germany third.

On Friday, Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier of Toronto won the gold in ice dancing.

Phan reaches podium at ISU junior event

Toronto-based Joseph Phan claimed bronze in the men's competition at the fifth stop on the ISU Junior Grand Prix figure skating circuit in Ostrava, Czech Republic, on Saturday.

Andrei Mozalev of Russia won the gold medal with 217.12 points, Camden Pulkinen of the U.S. followed for silver at 212.45 and Phan scored 207.80.

Phan was third after the short program and earned the second best score in the free skate.

"I'm really happy right now after a tough first Grand Prix,'' said the 17-year-old Phan. 

"We made some changes to my program so I could feel more comfortable and it's paid off." 

Aleksa Rakic, 13, of Burnaby, B.C., was sixth at 185.08, two positions better than at the season opening event in Slovakia.

"I just came here hoping to do better than at the first stop," said Rakic.

"In the free, I just wanted to keep fighting and not let doubt creep into my mind. It just felt a lot better this week because I knew what to expect." 

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