Canada's Moore-Towers, Moscovitch 2nd in pairs short at Skate America
Japan's Mao Asada 1st in women's short program
Canada's Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch are in second place after Saturday's short program in pairs at Skate America in Detroit which launches the ISU Grand Prix figure skating season.
World champions Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov of Russia grabbed the lead with 83.05 points, Moore-Towers and Moscovitch followed with a personal best score of 71.51 and Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov of Russia are third at 64.80.
"We improved on most aspects of our program," said Moore-Towers of St. Catharines, Ont. "The transitions and connections were the things we really wanted to do better today."
Moore-Towers and Moscovitch put their hat in the Olympic medal contenders' ring last season placing fourth at the world championships. They opened 2013-14 with a victory at the U.S. Skate International last month.
Moscovitch says he wasn't surprised to see a personal best this early in the season.
"We knew we were on track to get that score at this point,"said the Toronto resident. "We're happy with it even though we didn't skate completely perfectly."
Margaret Purdy of Strathroy, Ont., and Michael Marinaro of Sarnia, Ont., are seventh.
The pairs free skate is on Sunday. The two couples are Canada's only entries at the competition.
Later, Mao Asada of Japan won the women's short program.
Asada skated cleanly, scoring 73.18 points. Defending Skate America champion, Ashley Wagner of the U.S., is in second (68.26).
Elena Radinova of Russia, the reigning world junior champion, scored 67.01 and in third.
Asada boosted her score on the fly, changing her planned program content. She had planned a triple flip-triple loop near the beginning, but went with a triple loop instead. Asada performed a triple loop-double toe near the end of the short, upping her total.
Davis, White skate one of their 'best performances'
Japan's Tatsuki Machida edged American Adam Rippon for the men's title, and Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White topped the ice dance competition for the fourth straight year.
Machida and Davis and White entered the free skates in first place after dominating short programs.
They kept it up in the free skate, with Machida totalling 265.38 points and Davis and White
Rippon finished at 241.24, and American Max Aaron fell was third at 238.36.
In dance, Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte of Italy were second with 168.49, and the American brother-sister duo of Maia and Alex Shibutani followed at 154.47.
Machida's win was significant because he beat his better-known countrymen, 2012 Skate America champion Takahiko Kozuka and 2010 Olympic bronze medallist Daisuke Takahashi.
In dance, 2013 world champions Davis and White delivered a captivating and passionate performance, to "Scheherzade" by Nikolai Rimski-Korsakov. Every move seemed effortless, from their unique lifts and unison twizzles, to the intricate choreography.
Davis and White, who grew up and still train in the Detroit area, received a standing ovation. They scored 112.53 for their free dance, nearly 13 more than Cappellini and Lanotte.
"We are pleased with our skate," White said. "I think we are really happy with what we were able to put out there — it was one of our best performances. That was fun."