Duhamel, Radford punch ticket to Grand Prix Final

Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford secured a spot in next month’s Grand Prix Final by taking bronze in the pairs competition at Skate America on Saturday in Lake Placid, N.Y.

The Canadian duo led after Friday’s short program but slipped to third place with their free skate and finished with a total score of 215.68, well off their personal best of 231.99. 

”Today wasn’t our best skate but it wasn’t our worst,” said Duhamel, from Lively, Ont. ”We fought and I think overall we are happy with this competition. This is our next to last Grand Prix and I refuse to leave here frustrated.”

Meagan Duhamel, Eric Radford end up with bronze at Skate America8:07

Duhamel and Radford earned gold at Skate Canada International in October. 

Aljona Savchenko and Bruno Massot of Germany stormed from third to the top of the podium with a winning score of 223.13, while China’s Xiaoyu Yu and Hao Zhang earned 219.20 total points to hold on to second place.  

Germans Aljona Savchenko, Bruno Massot golden at Skate America9:04

Canadian pair Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro were also in the field and placed sixth at 187.81.

Daleman sits 3rd

Japan’s Satoko Miyahara topped the Skate America short program, a promising sign for the 19-year-old Olympic hopeful following a hip injury this year.

Gabrielle Daleman sits 3rd after women’s short program at Skate America6:09

The three-time national champion missed Four Continents and worlds because of her hip, then finished fifth in the Grand Prix event in Japan. Her score of 70.72 beat out Japan’s Kaori Sakamoto at 69.40 and Canada’s Gabrielle Daleman at 68.08.

Despite touching a hand down midway through her program, Daleman scored well and enters Sunday’s final with high medal hopes.

”My program is definitely a step up performance-wise,” said Daleman. ”On the technical side there’s a lot of improvement to be done. I need to work hard on it and be prepared for the next time.”

Shibutanis lead short dance

American ice dancers Maia and Alex Shibutani put themselves on track for a second Grand Prix event victory by winning the short dance.

The Shibutanis won the Grand Prix event at Russia earlier this year and are aiming to qualify for the Final in Japan next month.

They were fan favourites at Herb Brooks Arena, and the biggest cheer came after their signature synchronized twizzle. The judges gave the 2014 Olympians a 79.18 on a night when other skaters were baffled by their scores.

Gilles and Poirier sit in 5th place after Skate America short program3:13

Italy’s Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte were especially upset after finishing second with a 72.70. Cappellini called it “an awful technical score” and said they’d be checking with the judges for an explanation.

Russia’s Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov were third at 68.72.

The Canadian duo of Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier finished fifth with 64.07 points.

Chen wins 2nd straight

American skater Nathan Chen locked up a spot in his second straight Grand Prix Final, winning the men’s competition at Skate America despite a disappointing free skate.

Countryman Adam Rippon finished second and also qualified despite falling and dislocating his right shoulder on his first jump.

Chen struggled on a few of his five quad jump attempts, including a fall on a quad flip early in the program. The 18-year-old emerging star was second behind Rippon in the free skate with 171.76 points and won with a two-day total of 275.88s.

“Very disappointed,” Chen said.

Chen finished second at last year’s Final. This year’s event is next month in Japan.

His goal is to land five quads in South Korea again in February for a gold medal, which means there’s work ahead. After seeing his score Saturday, Chen turned to coach Rafael Arutunian and said “sorry.”

“It wasn’t necessarily about the scores. It was about the performance,” Chen said. “We worked really hard and it definitely did not show tonight.”

Rippon skated almost flawlessly after popping his arm back into place on the ice, punching his Final ticket with a 177.41 and 266.45 total.

Russia’s Sergei Voronov was third at 257.49 and also earned a Final spot.

Liam Firus, from North Vancouver, B.C., was the top Canadian skater, finishing in eighth place. Kevin Reynolds of Coquitlam, B.C., finished ninth and Roman Sadovsky of Vaughan, Ont., was 10th.

Liam Firus finishes in 8th place at Skate America5:04

Israel’s Daniel Samohin withdrew after dislocating his left shoulder on a fall. Samohin’s arm dangled at his side as he skated off, and at least one young girl in the stands cried as he left.

Live coverage on CBCSports.ca continues with the short in both ice dance (7:30 p.m. ET) and ladies (9:20 p.m. ET).

The event wraps on Sunday with the free programs in ice dance (1:55 p.m. ET) and ladies (4 p.m. ET) and the gala exhibition (7:30 p.m. ET).

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