COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Joannie Rochette's first-place short program Thursday was overshadowed by a scary injury to pairs skater Jessica Dube at the Four Continents figure skating championships.

Dube, of Drummondville, Que., underwent surgery Thursday night to repair a laceration on her left cheek and nose after being hit by partner Bryce Davison's skate in the free skate competition She was kept overnight at a Colorado Springs hospital for observation.

"She has a significant laceration to the left cheek," said International Skating Union medical advisor Jane Moran, who wouldn't elaborate on the length of the cut.

Moran said the eye was not affected and nothing was broken.

Also Thursday, Montreal's Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon slipped to second place in ice dance after a slip-up by Dubreuil.

Dube immediately fell to the ice and clutched at her face as blood pooled on the ice. Davison, of Cambridge, Ont., comforted her as the medical staff rushed onto the ice, put her on a stretcher and took her to a local hospital.

The skaters were on the third rotation of a side-by-side camel - where one leg is parallel to the ice as they spin - when Davison began to travel toward Dube, catching her with his skate.

The injury had an effect on Dube's Canadian teammates.

"Before we stepped out for the warmup I was in tears when I heard about it, and then I calmed myself down, and put it in the back of mind," Anabelle Langlois of Grand-Mere, Que., said. "As we got closer to the side-by-side (spin), I began to have a hard time and had to fight my brain to stay focused. We were definitely a little shaky at times because of the accident."

Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo of China won the pairs event.

Valerie Marcoux of Gatineau, Que., and Craig Buntin, Kelowna, B.C., were fourth while Langlois and Cody Hay, Grande Prairie, Alta., were seventh.

In the women's short program, Rochette of Ile Dupas, Que., was first with a score of 56.60. Emily Hughes of the U.S. was second after falling in her routine. Japan's Aki Sawada was third.

Cynthia Phaneuf of Contrecoeur, Que., was 15th and Lesley Hawker, Barrie, Ont., was 16th.

In ice dance, Montreal's Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon slipped to second place after the original dance event.

The Canadians led going into Thursday's original dance program, but dropped to second after a slip-up by Dubreuil.

"It was probably the worst we had ever competed. Bad day at the job," Dubreuil said. "I just stumbled and was unfocused. We'll just move on to something else and brush it off."

Tessa Virtue of London, Ont., and Scott Moir of Ilderton, Ont., are third - earning level four marks across the board for footwork and spins.

"We had a great time," Moir said.

Tanith Belbin overcame a wardrobe malfunction, untangling herself from a torn dress and going on to win the original dance with partner Ben Agosto.

The bottom of Belbin's black with red trim knee-length dress caught her left skate in the middle of the program. To free herself, she had to rip the dress while skating on one foot.

The performance by Belbin, a native of Kingston, Ont., who also holds American citizenship, and Agosto have a .31-point lead entering the free dance Friday.

"I literally had my blade tangled in my skirt," Belbin said.

Belbin didn't panic as she freed herself and wasn't bothered by the material hanging down after she ripped the dress.

"You should get higher points if you can do your one-foot section with your foot in your skirt," Belbin said with a laugh.

"You had one foot tied behind your back," Agosto added.

Belbin had trouble with the new costume in warmups when it slightly caught on her skate. Until now, she's never had a dress catch on her in competition.

"It's more frustrating than making a silly mistake because I feel like it was out of my control," she said. "It's not a big deal, it just got caught."

While his partner was struggling to free herself, Agosto kept his composure.

"I have to make sure I don't get distracted by it," he said. "She knows the timing and will catch right back up. I know she'll get back in step with me."

As for the dress, it won't be destroyed.

"I think I'll just shorten it," Belbin said.