Duhamel, Radford lead Canadian pairs charge
Moore-Towers, Moscovitch pull into second; American teams place third, fourth
|Canadian champions Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford surged to a 4.11-point lead. (Getty Images)|
Performing to La bohème, Duhamel and Radford hit a triple twist, side-by-side triple Lutz, throw triple Lutz and difficult lift.
The Canadian champions set a new personal best of 70.44 points.
"To break that 70-points barrier, not too many teams have done that," Radford said. "It feels incredible.
"We kind of discovered, especially after last nationals, the more pressure that's on, the better we seem to skate. Coming in here, we knew that we have a great chance to finally have a gold medal after all these silver medals. We came in with a fighting attitude as opposed to trying to ride the wave from nationals."
Moore-Towers and Moscovitch's program to a Motley Crew medley featured a triple twist, side-by-side triple toe and throw triple loop.
The couple picked up 66.33 points, a new season's best.
"I feel good about the performance today, though there were small things that we didn't do as good as we would have liked to," Moore-Towers said. "So, we are looking forward to cleaning that up for worlds. We are just going to go out and perform just like we have been training it.
"We had a great performance at nationals, so we are looking forward to building on that."
Castelli and Shnapir opened their routine to "Stray Cat Strut" and "Pink Panther" with triple twist and side-by-side triple Salchow, but Castelli fell on the throw triple Salchow.
The U.S. champions scored 53.06 points.
"We were too laid back today," Castelli said. "It wasn't our best performance, but it's a lesson learned, and we are ready to go again. We are satisfied with our side-by-side jumps and we did a good job getting back into the program after my fall (on the throw)."
"The fans are great here," Shnapir said. "We didn't quite have the skate we were looking for, but we are hoping to push forward for worlds. It was not our best, but we will not let it get in our way.
U.S. bronze medalists Felicia Zhang and Nate Bartholomay finished a mere 0.08 points behind their teammates to claim fourth place.
"We had an OK warm-up," Bartholomay said. "It's our first time being in a big arena, and that took me off guard a little bit, but we felt really strong and got into our knees. We put a good set of triple toes out and a really good triple twist. It was a successful run-through."