(August 29, 2009 - BUDAPEST, Hungary) – Karen Routhier of Quebec City and Eric Saucke-Lacelle of Sherbrooke, Que., won the silver medal on Saturday in the ice dance competition to conclude the season opening event on the ISU Junior Grand Prix figure skating circuit.
Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov of Russia won the gold medal with 166.06 points. Routhier and Saucke-Lacelle followed in second place at 149.94 for their third career junior Grand Prix medal. Lorenza Alessandrini and Simone Vaturi of Italy were third at 142.03.
It was a great start for the Canadian couple whose training was delayed this spring as Routhier recovered from a calf injury. The reigning Canadian junior champions, posted the second best scores in all three sections of the competition; the compulsory dance on Thursday, the original dance on Friday and the free dance.
“We are very pleased to win a medal,” said Routhier 17. “It was a very difficult spring. We didn’t practice for two months so it’s great to see our efforts pay off like this with a medal. We still have many areas to improve but our choreography was very strong and we were rewarded for that.”
Routhier and Saucke-Lacelle increased the tempo for both their original dance and their tango-themed free dance.
“Our free dance is go, go, go non-stop and is a lot more difficult,” said Saucke-Lacelle, 20. “The feedback we got last year was to have faster programs that force us to be more aggressive. The top teams are going that route and we want to match them.”
Olivia Martins of Toronto and Alvin Chau of Richmond, Hill, Ont., posted the fifth best score in the free dance but remained sixth overall at 137.76 out of 18 entries. They also had the third best technical points of the day.
“It’s definitely a big improvement for us in terms of the marks we received,” said Chau. “There are little mistakes here and there but we are definitely headed in the right direction.”
In men’s singles, Richard Dornbush led the U.S., to a 1-2 finish totaling 187.83 points for his third career junior Grand Prix win. Grant Hochstein, the leader after the short program, was second at 179.03 and Zhan Bush of Russia third at 155.27.
Samuel Morais of Laval, Que., delivered the sixth best long program on the day and climbed from ninth to eighth overall equalling his career-best result on the circuit.
“It was a much better performance than the short program,” said Morais, 17. “I finished very strong and I was particularly pleased to land my triple flip. But another goal was to land my triple-triple combination and I’ll need to work on that some more.”
The second stop on the circuit is next Thursday to Saturday (September 3-5) in Lake Placid, N.Y. Canada is icing a 12-member team for the competition.