(September 25, 2009 - MINSK, Belarus) – Karen Routhier of Quebec City and Eric Saucke-Lacelle of Sherbrooke, Que., are in second place after Friday’s original dance while Liam Firus of North Vancouver stands third in men’s singles after the short program at the fourth stop on the ISU junior Grand Prix figure skating circuit.

In ice dancing, Ksenia Monko and Kirill Khaliavin of Russia lead after Friday’s original dance at 88.39 points. Routhier and Saucke-Lacelle follow at 78.26 and Rachel Tibbetts and Collin Tibbetts of the U.S., are third at 77.83. Routhier and Saucke-Lacelle took silver art the season opening event last month in Budapest.

Nicole Orford of Burnaby, B.C., and Malcom Rohon-O’Hallaron of Victoria, in their international debut, are 10th.

In men’s singles, Firus made a sparkling debut on the circuit posting the third best score in the short program. He opened with a self-described best-ever triple toe-triple toe combination, landed a solid double Axel and impressed the judges with his footwork and spins.  The 17-year-old was 10th at last year’s Canadian junior championships.

“The big thing I’ve improved over the summer is the consistency in my jumps,” said Firus, 17. “And all the basic stuff like my speed are all much better. I was pretty nervous heading to the rink this morning but the butterflies dissipated once I started. In the end, I wasn’t really nervous at all.”

The only final on Friday was in women’s singles. Polina Shelepen of Russia won the gold medal, Yuki Nishino of Japan was second and Ksenia Marakova of Russia third.

Alexandra Najarro of Richmond Hill, Ont., delivered the sixth best long program to climb from 16th to 10th overall.

In pairs, the three Canadian teams are in the top-10 after Thursday’s short program. Maddison Bird of Barrie, Ont., and Raymond Schultz of Toronto are sixth, Kaleigh Hole of Virden, Man., and Adam Johnson of Chatham, Ont., are seventh and Kristen Tikel of Kitchener, Ont., and Ian Beharry of Guelph, Ont., are ninth.

The finals in men’s singles, pairs and ice dancing are all on Saturday.

For more information visit: www.isu.org

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