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Team Finland 1 leads after short program

Haydenettes second; Crystallettes ninth

Team Finland 1 leads with 81.40 points after the short program in Colorado Springs.
Team Finland 1 leads with 81.40 points after the short program in Colorado Springs. (Paul Harvath)

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By Becca Staed Bishop, special to icenetwork.com
(04/10/2010) - Following Friday night's short program event, the Haydenettes are in the running to reclaim a spot for the United States on the World podium for the second time ever since Miami University won silver in 2007.

The 2010 U.S. champion sits second after the short with 78.62 points, just 2.78 points behind short program leader and last year's silver medalist Team Finland 1. Canada's No. 2 team, black ice, is in third after the segment, finishing ahead of 2010 Canadian champion and defending world champion NEXXICE in sixth.

Skating third to last and dressed head to toe in traditional East Indian jewelry and attire, Team Finland 1, set the pace with its East Indian routine to "Harem's Secret" by Huzun.

"I thought it would be something nice to do," said coach Mirjami Penttinen. "I didn't want to do Bollywood though. I wanted to do something different and traditional. I knew these girls had a lot of energy and are capable of these kinds of movements."

Penttinen hired an East Indian dance teacher to work with the girls on perfecting their movements.

"It was to know which finger is holding which and how to do the wrists," she said. "I didn't want to do it wrong."

The team's routine featured sharp edges and lines and great speed, and was highlighted by a beautiful Level 4 moves in the field that earned a 2.40 Grade of Execution, a Level 4 pivoting intersection and a Level 3 no hold block -- all of which garnered more than seven points. Its first block received a Level 4 and two GOE points but had a 0.50-point deduction. The team also received a one-point deduction for costume violation, yet it finished with 81.40 points and a nearly three-point lead going into Saturday's free skate.

"This was a good performance for worlds, where they might be a bit nervous," said Penttinen. "I am really happy with what they did."

The Haydenettes of Lexington, Mass., skated to Sarah Brightman's "What a Wonderful World," a delicate yet inspirational piece, featuring a well-executed Level 4 moves in the field that included spread eagles, 135-degree spirals and Ina Bauers and earned two GOE points. It also displayed a strong Level 3 no hold block with a Level 4 step sequence, and a clean Level 4 block. It picked up more than 10 points in GOEs.

"This team is working to perform every single time better," said head coach Saga Krantz. "Nationals was such a high moment for them. That gave them the challenge to come back and gain the same emotional and technical atmosphere."

"To step out on the ice and see so many American flags was incredible," said team member Jenna Longo of competing on home soil. "We used the energy the crowd gave us and put it into our skate."

Two-time world bronze medalists, black ice, are also looking to reclaim a podium spot after a seven-year lull during which NEXXICE has triumphed for Canada. The team finished fifth at this event last year.

Skating last to "Quelque Notes Sur Mozart," black ice was able to hold off Sweden's Team Surprise, last year's bronze medalists, by a quarter of a point. Though they posted only the fourth highest component mark, black ice skated strong with a Level 3 no hold block that included a Level 4 step sequence and an excellent Level 4 pivoting intersection.

"Canada 2 has always been very competitive and very strong," said the team's coach, Cathy Dalton. "The team is getting closer every year. I think it was just experience they needed. We also tried to find programs this year that suited them a bit better and showed their strengths."

Team Surprise is close behind in fourth place after earning 75.74 points for its entertaining and hard-hitting routine to Michael Jackson's "They Don't Care About Us," in which they donned Jackson-inspired costumes and a single white glove.