Montreal saved the best for last as Olympic champion Liu Shaolin Sandor won his first two gold medals of the season on Sunday after strong finishes in the finals of the Men's 500m and 5000m relay.
Liu had already stood on the top of the podium once in Sunday's session, after winning the 500m, when Hungary's men went into the 5000m relay, the final medal race of the season's second World Cup event.
Six minutes 55.968 seconds later even a photo finish could not separate the Hungarians and Republic of Korea as they streaked across the line, the rivals eventually sharing the gold medal in front of an enthralled crowd at the Maurice Richard Arena. It was a thrilling end to a great weekend of racing.
Liu Shaolin (HUN) roars with delight after winning the Men's 500m in Montreal 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
Liu's happy now
Liu had also left it late in his previous medal-winning race of the day. Republic of Korea's Hwang Dae Heon had led the 500m gold-medal sprint from the start, but the Hungarian eked out a gap and passed last weekend's 500m champion in the final lap to cement his first World Cup title in 12 months.
"I just wanted to be smart, wait and look for chances [to pass Hwang]," said Liu, who had last stood on top of the World Cup podium when he helped Hungary to the Men's 5000m relay title in Salt Lake City on 11 November 2018. "If I could pass, I'd pass, otherwise I'd just play for safety. That was my plan."
Little more than an hour later, Liu and Hwang were sprinting it out in another last-millimetre thriller.
Republic of Korea (left) and Hungary (second from left) could not be separated after 5000 gruelling metres of action 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
Exchanging with three laps to go, Liu had given Hungary the lead for the first time in the Men's 5000m final, trying to keep Hwang and Russia's Semen Elistratov behind him. In a desperate last lunge, however, Hwang stretched out and finished in the same time as Liu. Impossible to separate by the photo finish, Hungary and Republic of Korea got to share the gold medals, Russia taking the bronze.
"Last year we won more medals in the first two World Cups but I was pretty happy with my result and time last week and I got a silver medal [in the Men's 500m] so I'm still happy with it. I'm still counting if I take two or I take one or three or five [medals], so [his start of the season] is really good."
Liu's main goal for the 2019/20 season is January's ISU 2020 European Short Track Championships in Debrecen, Hungary, where he and his brother Liu Shaoang are two of the main poster boys.
"I want to be really good there and of course on the world championships, so we are putting a lot of focus on the championships this year. I'm already in a good shape, I just hope I can keep it up for the rest of the season," Liu said.
Russia's Semen Elistratov holds off a triple Korean challenge in the Men's 1000m (2) 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
Korea take silver and bronze as Elistratov streaks to gold
Semen Elistratov, who won the Men's 1500m gold medal in Salt Lake City, USA, last weekend, continued to show fine form as he sprinted past Park In Wook in the last stretch of Sunday's 1000m final, beating the Korean to the gold medal by 0.086 of a second as Park Ji Won took the bronze.
"I'm very happy," the 29-year-old Russian said. "It was a really good race in the 1000m and a really good race in the relay.
"Today my tactics were the very best, [it was] amazing. I hope that in the next World Cup I will be in even better condition."
Awesome foursome: It's gold for Kim Boutin (CAN). Again 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
Boutin continues to set the pace
Kim Boutin continued her winning streak, taking her individual 2019/20 World Cup gold-medal tally to four as she led the Ladies' 500m final from start to finish in the distance's fastest-ever race at Maurice Richard Arena.
"That was insane, winning another gold medal, it was a perfect day here," Boutin said after defending her title from Salt Lake City the week before. She also won the 1500m last week and powered to the 1000m (1) title in Montreal on Saturday.
"I'm pretty excited about the 500m because I did it again and I think it is a new distance that I'm pretty strong in so I'm pretty proud about this one."
Maliszewska, who dominated the distance last season, winning the 500m European Championship gold medal and the overall 500m World Cup title, promised Short Track fans can look forward to more fast races between her, Boutin and Valcepina over the rest of this season.
"It's probably going to be really hard. We are getting better, the girls are getting faster and I'm fine with it. It's about being fast and feeling the speed so I'm happy that the girls are getting faster," Maliszewska said.
"I'm happy with my bronze. I tried to pass [Valcepina and Boutin] but that pass might have ended with a penalty and I didn't want to make any mistakes so I tried but it didn't work. I'm happy with my bronze, I'm third and it's really nice to be back [on the podium] again."
Maliszewska sees Boutin's fine form as inspiration. "She's really good," said the Polish 24-year-old.
"It's nice to watch her racing and skating, she's somebody to watch and learn from so I enjoy watching her and I'm happy for her."
China lead the way in the Ladies' 3000m relay on Sunday 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)
Double joy for China
There was a rare disappointment for Boutin as she and her team-mates were unable to stop China from defending their Ladies' 3000m relay title from Salt Lake City last weekend, Canada having to settle for a bronze medal as Russia finished second in the final.
China also finished on top of the podium ahead of Canada and Russia in the Ladies' 1000m final, where Han Yu Tong skated past home hope Courtney Lee Sarault in the last lap to win the race, Russia's Ekaterina Efremenkova taking the bronze.
The ISU World Cup continues in two weeks with competitions in Nagoya, Japan.
Where to watch and follow the ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating 2019/20
Viewers will be able to watch via their national broadcaster/channel. For countries where there are no broadcasters, the ISU will offer a live stream on the Skating ISU YouTube Channel. You will find the full list in the Where to watch news here.
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For further information on ISU Short Track Speed Skating visit : https://www.isu.org/short-track.
ISU World Cup Short Track Speed Skating Series events 2019/20
The World Cup series consists of nine distances 500, 1000 and 1500 meters for Ladies and Men, Ladies 3000 meters Team Relay, Men 5000 meters Team Relay and a Mixed Gender Relay over 2000 meters.
The competitions have a single distance character and are held in separate sessions over three days. Day 1 is dedicated to all Qualifying Rounds. Days 2 and 3 the last Qualifying Rounds (if necessary) take place, followed by the World Cup sessions.
For the Mixed Gender Relay Teams (2 Ladies & 2 Men), the Ladies 3000 meters Relay races and Men 5000 meters Relay races a maximum of four Skaters shall compete and must belong to the same ISU Member.