By Paul D. Bowker | Oct. 27, 2018, 11:46 a.m. (ET)

(L-R) Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue skate at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating: Skate America on Oct. 21, 2018 in Everett, Wash.

 

PyeongChang 2018 Olympians Madison Hubbell and Zach Donohue were at the top of their game Friday.

The ice dancing duo posted the top score of the night and their best score of the season, an 80.49, in the rhythm dance in Skate Canada International, the second stop in the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series. The long program is Saturday.

Hubbell and Donohue, the defending U.S. champions who just missed the podium in their Olympic debut in PyeongChang with a fourth-place finish, started the 2018-19 season strong with a win last week in Skate America, the first grand prix event of the season.. They enter the second night of competition in Skate Canada with a lead of nearly six points over Russia’s Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov.

Also in medal contention after their short programs are Starr Andrews and Mariah Bell in the women’s competition. In just her second grand prix event, Andrews scored a season-best 64.77 in her short program. Bell posted a score of 63.35. They are ranked fourth and fifth, respectively, heading into Saturday night’s long program.

Elizaveta Tuktamysheva of Russia topped the women with a score of 74.22.

In pairs, Haven Denney and Brandon Frazier finished eighth in the short program with a score of 55.31.

Jason Brown, a 2014 Olympic team bronze medalist, finished 11th in the men’s short program. He had a score of 76.46.

The competition concludes Saturday with the long programs in all four disciplines.

Paul D. Bowker has been writing about Olympic sports since 1996, when he was an assistant bureau chief in Atlanta. He is sports editor of the Cape Cod Times and a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.