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2014/09/05 - Two golden skates for Canada at ISU Junior Grand Prix

OSTRAVA, Czech Republic – Canada won the gold medal in pairs and ice dancing on Friday at the third stop on the ISU Junior Grand Prix figure skating circuit.

The winners were Mackenzie Bent of Uxbridge, Ont., and Garrett MacKeen of Oshawa, Ont., in ice dancing and Julianne Séguin of Longueuil, Que., and Charlie Bilodeau of Trois-Pistoles, Que., in pairs.

In ice dancing, Bent and MacKeen collected their second career junior Grand Prix win and fourth podium overall with a 138.17 score.  The overall and free program scores were international bests for the Canadians.  Betina Popova and Yuri Vlasenko of Russia were second at 131.42 and Lorraine McNamara and Quinn Carpenter of the U.S., third at 130.79.

‘’We delivered what we’d been doing in training and that’s very pleasing,’’ said Bent, 17.  ‘’It wasn’t a perfect skate but we headed into this competition confident with both programs.’’

Last year, the couple saw a super season end on a sour note with a 12th place finish at the junior world championships.

‘’Obviously it was important for us to get off on the right track this season,’’ said MacKeen, 20.  ‘’We’ve come in this season with some changes including two different programs and so far it’s really worked out.’’

Danielle Wu and Spencer Soo of Burnaby, B.C., were sixth.

In pairs, Séguin and Bilodeau delivered a near-flawless performance to music from Peter Gabriel to win the gold with 159.40 points.  Lina Fedorova and Maxim Miroshkin of Russia were second at 144.62 and their compatriots Kamilla Gainetdinova and Sergei Alexeev third at 134.43.

‘’We worked really hard for this so we are not totally surprised,’’ said Séguin, 17.  ‘’We knew we had improved a lot from last season.  We felt in control of our program and landing the side-by-side jump early in the program gave us a lot of confidence.’’

The pair joined forces last season and produced two top-five finishes in the ISU Junior Grand Prix circuit and were second at junior nationals.  This season they want to start making noise at the senior level nationally.

‘’We want to skate like a senior pair team this year,’’ said Bilodeau, 21. ‘’Last year, we focused on developing chemistry on the ice.  Now we’ve expanded to display emotion and maturity as well, and this program helps us do that.’’

Canada has another medal contender in men’s competition as Roman Sadovsky of Vaughan, Ont., grabbed the lead after an excellent short program on Friday earning 67.51 points.  Alexander Samarin of Russia is second at 62.42 and Sei Kawahara of Japan stands third at 60.55.

In women’s competition after Thursday’s short program, Kim DeGuise-Léveillée of Sorel-Tracy, Que., is 10th.

Competition ends Saturday with the men’s and women’s free skates.

Videos of routines available on the ISU YouTube channel

Full results: http://www.isuresults.com/results/jgpcze2014/index.htm.

By Louis Daignault

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