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Short-program winner does low-risk routine

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HALIFAX , Nova Scotia — Jeffrey Buttle of Canada won the men's short program at Skate Canada with 72.15 points Thursday night.

Fellow Canadian Ben Ferreira finished second at 67.38, and German Stefan Lindemann was third with 63.45 points.

Buttle said he and his coaches decided to go with a low-risk program after hearing about a fall-filled Skate America last weekend in Pittsburgh.

"I was happy to be good because we did go safe," Buttle said. "In the short program, with only three jumps, one mistake is costly."

Earlier, former world champions Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo of China won the pairs short program with 66.48 points.

The 2002 Olympic bronze medalists and '03 world champions led another Chinese pair, Pang Qing and Tong Jian, who had 64.54 points in the newly official International Skating Union scoring system. Valerie Marcoux and Craig Buntin of Canada were third heading into Friday's free skate.

Americans Brittany Vise and Nicholas Kole were eighth with 44.12 points.

Skate Canada is the second event on the Grand Prix circuit.

Albena Denkova and Maxim Staviski of Bulgaria placed first in the compulsory dance to open Skate Canada. The Bulgarians had 41.05 points, while Isabelle Delobel and Olivier Schoenfelder of France were second with 39.37.

Canada's Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon shook off early-season jitters to finish third heading into the original dance. The Canadians scored 39.35 points in the rumba under the new International Skating Union points system.

"We skated a pretty solid performance," said Dubreuil, who trains with her partner in France. "In the rumba, the patterns are almost all the same, they don't vary that much, so we were worried (about possibly poor ice conditions). But the ice was pretty good."

Americans Loren Galler-Rabinowitz and David Mitchell were ninth with 28.67 points.