New Brunswick surprises in short track

The 500m final was a very eventful one at St. Margaret Centre on Day 2 of short track speed skating at the Halifax 2011 Canada Winter Games, and Québec's Alexandre St-Jean came out of the race with a gold medal in a time of 43.308. He was closely followed at the finish line by Andrew Evans of New Brunswick in 43.633. Maxime Gauthier of Québec crossed the finish line in third place but was disqualified for impeding which allowed Evan Brideau, also of New Brunswick, to skate away with the bronze medal.

Evans and Brideau become the first two medalists of the Halifax 2011 Canada Winter Games for Team New Brunswick. "I feel really good," said Andrew Evans, 17, after the race. "I didn't expect to win a medal in this distance because of my slow start, but I'm very excited this happened. I'm hoping New Brunswick can get another medal in the relay final later this week."

On the women's side, the gold medal went to Courtney Shmyr of British Columbia, who completed the final in a time of 46.409. She was battling for first place for the entire race along with Québec's Cynthia Mascitto, who won the silver medal thanks to her time of 46.515. Bronze went to Élizabeth Albert, also of Québec, who crossed the finish line in 46.683, and Keri Morrison of Ontario took fourth place. Morrison was quite happy with that result as well, as she broke her ankle earlier this fall and was only able to get back on the ice this past December. She is here racing in her second Canada Winter Games.

Shmyr's gold medal was her second medal in Halifax, after she captured the bronze in Sunday's 1500m race. That event was won by Ann-Véronique Michaud of Québec, and silver went to Namasthée Harris-Gauthier, also of Québec.

Québec had been dominant on Sunday, winning five of the six medals at stake in the 1500m, including a sweep for the men when Maxime Gauthier, Benoit Thériault and Yoan Gauthier crossed the finish line in that order.

Many of the medal winners so far, including Michaud, St-Jean, Shmyr and Gauthier, will represent Canada at next week's World Junior Championships in Italy, so these victories are good confidence boosts for the athletes.