OBERSTDORF, GERMANY: Ice dancers Piper Gilles, 24, Toronto, Ont., and Paul Poirier, 24, Unionville, Ont., started off the 2016-2017 season with a bronze medal win at the Nebelhorn Trophy in Oberstdorf, Germany. The team skated two strong programs, scoring 70.32 points in the short dance and 106.52 points in the free dance for a total of 176.84 points.

“We can look back on this competition and really say mission accomplished. Our goal for this season is to close the gap between us and the teams that are getting on the world podium. To be within two points of two past world medalists is a really big step up for us. We are already matching, if not beating our scores from the end of last season and it’s only September,” said Poirier.

Italians Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte took the gold with 180.50 points and Americans Madison Chock and Evan Bates scored 179.18 for the silver medal.

In men’s, Liam Firus, 24, North Vancouver, B.C., finished in fifth place. He scored 74.57 points in the short and 135.52 points in the free for a total of 210.09.

Alexander Petrov of Russia won the gold with 232.21 points, the silver went to Jorik Hendrickx of Belgium with 223.04 points and American Grant Hochstein took bronze with 217.25 points.

In the women’s discipline, Gabrielle Daleman, 18, Newmarket, Ont., sits in third with 60.15 points after the short program.

“I’m very happy with how it went. It was not only my fist competition of the season but my first international of the season and my goal was to get the Lutz toe, which I did. I was really happy with that,” said Daleman.

Elizaveta Tuktamysheva of Russia is in first after the short with 65.20 points and Mai Mihara of Japan is in second with 63.11 points.

In pair, Lubov Ilyushechkina, 24, Moscow, Russia, and Dylan Moscovitch, 31, Toronto, Ont., competed their short program on Thursday and are in second place going into the free with 65.98 points.

“Very happy for our first time out for the season. It’s a new program, a challenging one, it’s been a lot of work just to get it to this point. We are very pleased on how we came out the first time around,” said Moscovitch.

The German team of Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot are in first with 74.24 points and Mari Vartmann and Ruben Blommaert, also of Germany, are in third with 57.74 points.

The pair and women’s competitions will conclude tomorrow with the free programs.

Full results: http://www.deu-event.de/results/Nebelhorn_2016/index.html.