Toronto ice dancers Piper Gilles, Paul Poirier win Autumn Classic International
Canada collects 4 medals on final day of competition Saturday in Quebec
Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier of Toronto carried their ice dancing success from the spring into this week's Autumn Classic, opening the international season with a victory in Pierrefonds, Que.
The 2021 world championship bronze medallists amassed 208.97 points to defeat Spain's Olivia Smart and Adrian Diaz (191.31) and Americans Caroline Green and Michael Parsons (188.43).
"We're very pleased with the way both programs went," Poirier told reporters. "We didn't try to force things or have that perfect skate. We just want to get everything sharper and we're really excited to deliver such a strong showing and show that we keep improving."
In March, Gilles and Poirier scored a personal-best 214.35 in Stockholm for bronze, their first medal in eight trips to the world championships.
WATCH | Gilles, Poirier victorious at international season opener:
The 2019 world junior champions from Quebec, Marjorie Lajoie and Zachary Lagha, racked up 181.74 points for fourth.
Carolane Soucisse of Chateauguay, Que., and Shane Firus of North Vancouver, B.C., were fifth ahead of Haley Sales of Kelowna, B.C., and Nikolas Wamsteeker of Langley, B.C. in sixth spot.
Fell on triple axel
"We're really happy with the free dance and we didn't hold back," said Lagha. "During the off season we really worked on our skating skills and made some needed changes to our programs."
Conrad Orzel of Woodbridge, Ont., prevailed in an all-Canadian men's event at Sportsplexe Pierrefonds, collecting 207.31 points to beat Bennet Toman of Brampton, Ont. (172.33) and Beres Clements of Gibson, B.C. (153.48).
WATCH | Orzel captures men's event after 6th-place finish in 2019:
After landing two quads in Friday's short program, the 21-year-old Orzel couldn't execute them cleanly in the free skate while also falling on one of his triple axels.
"There's some good takeaways from this competition despite a really bad long," said Orzel, sixth at this event in 2019. "There's no way of sugar coating it, it was not what I had been showing in practice. But it helps me re-evaluate how I should prepare when I compete."
Canada's four-medal haul Saturday added to the pairs silver won Friday by Vanessa James and Eric Radford.
WATCH | James, Radford discuss 1st competition together: