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Langlois, Hay take surprising lead in pairs

Dubé, Davison stumble, fall to fifth

Anabelle Langlois and Cody Hay took advantage of Jessica Dubé and Bryce Davison's fall.
Anabelle Langlois and Cody Hay took advantage of Jessica Dubé and Bryce Davison's fall. (Getty Images)

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By Laurie Nealin, special to icenetwork.com
(01/19/2008) - The pairs short program proved to be a shocker as reigning champs Jessica Dubé and Bryce Davison came unglued. They now find themselves in fifth place heading into Saturday's final at the 2008 BMO Canadian Figure Skating Championships.

The popular duo came here confident that they could defend the Canadian title they won for the first time last year. Now their focus has turned to just clawing their way back onto the podium and earning a return trip to the world championships in March.

While Dubé and Davison were heavily favored to take gold and could still win with a stellar finale, it is Anabelle Langlois and Cody Hay who lead, while Meagan Duhamel and Craig Buntin are second. The brother-and-sister pair, Kyra and Dylan Moscovitch, claimed third.

Those couples earned 62.73, 61.48 and 57.01 points, respectively, for their solid performances, which were all marred only by minor miscues.

"We felt really good on the ice all week, and everything's going as planned," said Hay, the bronze medalist last year.

Buntin, who last competed in his hometown of Vancouver as a novice competitor in 1997, was pleased with his nationals debut with new partner Duhamel. Buntin already owns three Canadian titles, which he won with previous partner Valerie Marcoux.

Dubé and Davison, seventh in the world last season, scored just 54.32 points for their flamenco-themed program, and she wore a look of concern throughout their routine.

"It was rough. It was a big surprise what happened on the throw," Davison said, referring to Dubé's crash on the throw triple loop.

Dubé said she had no idea what happened. She also downgraded the planned triple Salchow to a double in the opening seconds and stumbled in the footwork in the final moments of the program.

Dubé and Davison have enjoyed their first season free of major injury, winning their first Grand Prix gold at Skate America last October and qualifying for the prestigious Grand Prix Final for the first time.

Kris Wirtz, coach to the Moscovitches, suggested the pressure of being defenders here rather than challengers rattled the usually unflappable couple. Wirtz knows what he's talking about. He was in the same position after winning the national title in 1998 and 1999 with his now wife Kristy Sargeant.

"It's a totally different feeling to defend. It's the only thing [Dubé and Davison] haven't dealt with in their career," Wirtz said.

"But, they're gonna win the long," he predicted. "Now, they're [angry]."

The pairs medals and world team members will be decided Saturday morning when the couples return for their final, set to start at 9:00 a.m. local time.