Prepares for Rostelecom Cup competition from Nov. 14-16



KELOWNA, British Columbia — Eleven U.S. athletes competed at 2014 Skate Canada International, the second event of the 2014 International Skating Union (ISU)

Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series from Oct. 31-Nov. 2 at the Prospera Place in Kelowna, British Columbia.

Wakefield’s Stephen Carriere was one of those skaters.

Carriere, 10th in the U.S. last season, also skated quite well and placed fourth, just a 10th of a point behind Max Aaron. His opening quad toe and six of his eight triple jumps were clean but he faltered on his second triple Axel and two of his spins.

“I’m not happy with my spins but I’m glad I was able to keep it together for the rest of the program,” said Carriere, the 2007 world junior champion. “I am looking forward to competing again in Russia (at Rostelecom Cup).”

Carriere had a total of 231.67 points with 151.34 points in the free skate and 80.33 points in the short program.

While Carriere had a good showing, for the second straight week, a Japanese man has won a Grand Prix event by a large margin.

After Tatsuki Machida triumphed at Skate America by nearly 35 points, his countryman, Takahito Mura, the sixth-ranked skater in Japan last season, defeated two-time European champion Javier Fernández by 11 points at Skate Canada.

Mura, who is coached by his father, Takashi, performed his free to The Phantom of the Opera, the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical that is enjoying a remarkable skating resurgence this season. The skater hit two excellent quad toes, the second in combination with a triple toe. Six other mostly clean triple jumps followed and Mura earned 173.24 points and a partial standing ovation from the crowd of 4,000.

Mura is seeking to expand his technical arsenal in order to compete with Japanese rivals like Machida and Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu.

It was not a good day for Fernández, who trains in Toronto under Brian Orser. The Spaniard was not in top shape entering this event and it showed in the free skate. All three of his quads were flawed: He touched a hand down on the toe loop, stepped out of his first Salchow and fell on his second Salchow. He had two other slips on triple jumps.

This season’s Grand Prix Final will be held in Barcelona in December and Fernández is expected by his countrymen to headline the event.

Aaron climbed from fifth after the short to win the bronze medal, gaining 155.27 points for his free skate and 235.77 points overall. He skated his free to the Gladiator soundtrack, a program choreographed by Pasquale Camerlengo.

The Colorado Springs-based student of Tom Zakrajsek opened with a solid quad Salchow-double toe combination and then stepped out of his second quad Salchow. He followed with seven triple jumps, five of them clean, including two Axels.

Prior to Skate Canada, Aaron worked with Vancouver-based Mark Pillay, who choreographed his short program to Footloose, to enhance his performance quality.

Russian veteran Konstantin Menshov dropped from third after the short to fifth overall with 225.03 points.

Frenchman Florent Amodio was sixth after turning out of his quad Salchow and landing his two triple Axels in low position. Michal Březina from the Czech Republic placed seventh after popping his first quad Salchow and falling on his second.

Two-time world junior champion Adam Rippon, eighth in the U.S. last season, was 10th with 201.92 points. He performed an elegant free to Franz Liszt’s “Piano Concerto No. 1” that featured interesting transitions and steps.

Rippon opened with a solid double Axel but singled two other Axels. Later, he hit two very good triple-triple combinations: A triple flip-triple loop and triple Lutz-triple toe. That triple Lutz and a later one without combination were done with both arms overhead, in “Rippon” style, but he turned out of his final triple Axel attempt.

Carriere, a  25-year-old Boston College student and Wakefield Memorial High School graduate, is getting ready to head to Moscow in November for his next stop in the 2014 Grand Prix Series. The Rostelecom Cup will be held from Nov. 14-16 in Moscow. The short program takes place on Friday, Nov. 14 at 10 a.m. and the free skate will be held Saturday, Nov. 15 at 8:55 a.m.

Carriere is a member of the Skating Club of Boston and his coach is Suna Murray.