Canadian ice dancers Piper Gillies, Paul Poirier win Autumn Classic

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PIERREFONDS, Que. — Canada's ice dance duo of Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier won the Autumn Classic International figure skating competition Saturday.

Gilles and Poirier, who earned world championship bronze this year, posted a top score of 208.97 points.

Poirier of Unionville, Ont., and Toronto's Gilles, an American-born skater who received her Canadian citizenship in 2013, placed eighth in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Spain's Olivia Smart and Adrian Diaz were second Saturday with 191.31 points ahead of Americans Caroline Green and Michael Parsons in third at 188.43.

‘’We’re very pleased with the way both programs went,’’ Poirier said. "’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.’’

Marjorie Lajoie of Boucherville, Que., and Zachary Lagha of St-Hubert, Que., placed fourth with 181.74 points. They won gold in the 2019 world junior championship.

‘’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.’’

Carolane Soucisse of Chateauguay, Que., and Shane Firus of North Vancouver were fifth and Haley Sales of Kelowna, B.C., and Nikolas Wamsteeker of Langley, B.C. took sixth.

In an all-Canadian men’s event, Conrad Orzel of Woodbridge, Ont., took gold with 207.31 points, Bennet Toman of Brampton, Ont., was second with 172.33 and Beres Clements of Gibson, B.C., third at 153.48.

Orzel landed a pair of quadruple jumps in Friday's short program, but the 21-year-old didn't execute them cleanly in Saturday's free skate and also fell on a triple Axel.

‘’There’s some good takeaways from this competition despite a really bad long,’’ Orzel said. ‘’There’s no way of sugarcoating it. It was not what I had been showing in practice, but it helps me re-evaluate how I should prepare when I compete.’’

The Autumn Class wrapped Saturday at Sportsplexe Pierrefonds. The new Canadian pairs partnership of Eric Radford and Vanessa James won silver earlier in the event.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 18, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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