SAINT JOHN, N.B. -- It was an unspoken moment before the music began, a shared realization they were competing in what will likely be their Skate Canada finale.
Olympic ice dance champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir won the short dance at Skate Canada International on Friday night, despite a couple of noticeable and uncharacteristic errors.
But instead of focusing on the flaws, Moir was soaking up the moment.
"It was emotional," Moir said. "We talk about this. . . it's about enjoying the journey, enjoying the process, and we're at great moments in our careers right now. We're healthy, we're strong, we still think we're young -- maybe the rest of the skating world doesn't -- but it's a beautiful thing and we're really enjoying it.
"We just looked at each other and it's one of those moments where you're just happy to be where you are."
Virtue and Moir scored 73.15 points for their foxtrot and quickstep to music by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong, edging fellow Canadians Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje by less than three points. Americans Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue were third.
Virtue and Moir haven't officially confirmed this is their final season, although they're expected to retire after the Sochi Olympics.
Virtue, from London, Ont., saw Moir struggling to contain his emotion and said she was inspired the skater from Ilderton, Ont., who's been her partner for the better part of two decades.
"I was pretty nervous and it's easy to get wrapped up in the minor details, and you're so focused on how we're executing every step," Virtue said. "I just looked at Scott and he looked a bit emotional and I think it connected us in a special way, and made it that much more special."
Their trouble came on the twizzles -- sort of travelling side-by-side spins that have be completely in synch. Their's weren't. Virtue said because she's struggled with them in three performances already this season, they might look at moving them to a different part of their short program.
"It's certainly not something we want to risk moving forward but we'll look at that when we get home," she said.
The night marked a personal best (70.35) for Weaver and Poje, who've long skated in the shadows of Virtue and Moir.
Skating to music from "42nd Street," Weaver, from Toronto, and Poje, from Waterloo, Ont., Canada's perennial runners-up had no noticeable bobbles.
They watched Virtue and Moir's performance intently on a TV screen. Weaver looked stricken when the Olympic champs made their glaring twizzles error, and reached out to touch the screen with a sympathetic "Ohhh."
"Tessa and Scott are Olympic champions, they're everything in a team that we strive to be, and while their errors are quite uncharacteristic, they are to me the quintessential ice dance team of our time," Weaver said. "So no it doesn't make any less excited about our own score, we're just happy to be in the same sentence as them."
Skate Canada is the second of six stops on figure skating's Grand Prix circuit. The top six entries in each discipline qualify for the Grand Prix Final, Dec. 5-8, in Fukuoka, Japan.