Canada's Gilles, Poirier best in rhythm dance at Grand Prix Espoo

Canada's Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier easily glided into first place in the rhythm dance on the first day of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating event in Espoo, Finland on Friday.

Messing, Schizas both finish opening day in top 5

Canada's Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier are ice-dance favourite entering the Grand Prix Final in Italy this weekend. (Antti Aimo-Koivisto/Lehtikuva/AFP via Getty Images)

Canada's Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier easily glided into first place in the rhythm dance on the first day of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating event in Espoo, Finland on Friday.

The world bronze medallists scored 87.80 points for their program to Lady Bri's "Do What I Do," putting themselves at the top of the 10-team field heading into Saturday's free dance at the Grand Prix Espoo.

Not so close behind them are two American duos, with Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker in second (80.93), and Christina Carreira and Anthony Ponomarenko in third (76.20).

Fellow Canadian ice dancers Carolane Soucisse and Shane Firus sit sixth with 72.38 points.

Gilles and Poirier won gold at last month's Skate Canada International to open the season.

WATCH | Gilles, Poirier 1st after rhythm dance: 

Canadians Gilles and Poirier best in rhythm dance at Espoo Grand Prix

2 months ago
Duration 7:21
Canada's Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier won the rhythm dance program at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating's Espoo Grand Prix in Finland.

Alaskan-born Canadian Keegan Messing is fourth after the men's short program with 80.12 points, while Kevin Aymoz of France leads the way with 88.96.

American phenom Ilia Malinin is in second (85.57), followed by Japan's Shun Sato (81.59).

WATCH | Aymoz skates to lead in men's competiton: 

France's Kevin Aymoz skates to lead at Espoo Grand Prix

2 months ago
Duration 6:11
France's Kevin Aymoz won the men's short program at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating's Espoo Grand Prix in Finland.

Madeline Schizas of Oakville Ont., is fifth heading into the women's free skate after earning 65.19 points in the short program.

Belgium's Loena Hendrickx is first with 74.88, followed by Japan's Mai Mihara (73.58) and Mana Kawabe (67.03) in second and third, respectively.

WATCH | Hendrickx grabs lead in women's short program: 

Belgium's Loena Hendrickx leads at Espoo Grand Prix

2 months ago
Duration 7:18
Belgium's Loena Hendrickx won the women's short program at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating's Espoo Grand Prix in Finland.

In the pairs competition, Italy's Rebecca Ghilardi and Filippo Ambrosini are in first place with 67.31 points after the short program.

Americans Anastasiia Smirnova and Danylo Siianytsia are second (63.01), while Georgia's Anastasiia Metelkina and Daniil Parkman are not far behind in third (62.59).

The Grand Prix Espoo is the sixth and final Grand Prix of the season. Skaters are assigned to two Grand Prix events, and the top six in each discipline compete in the Grand Prix Final, Dec. 8-11 in Turin, Italy.

Competition in Espoo continues tomorrow with the free programs, starting at 5:45 a.m. ET. Watch live coverage on CBCSports.caCBC Gem and the CBC Sports app for iOS and Android.

WATCH | Ghilardi, Ambrosini lead pairs competition: 

Italy's Ghilardi and Ambrosini leads pairs competition at ISU Grand Prix in Finland

2 months ago
Duration 6:43
Italy's Rebecca Ghilardi and Filippo Ambrosini won the pairs short program at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating's Espoo Grand Prix in Finland.

With files from The Canadian Press

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