Mississauga's Denis Margalik reacts after winning a silver medal in the junior men's category tonight at the 2013 Canadian junior figure skating championships.

Mississauga's Denis Margalik reacts after winning a silver medal in the junior men's category tonight at the 2013 Canadian junior figure skating championships.

Many years from now, Mississauga's Denis Margalik is going to think back to his performance at the 2013 Canadian junior figure skating championships and smile from ear to ear.

With friends and family watching him at the Hershey Centre tonight, Margalik skated the best performance of his life and ended up with a silver medal in the junior men's category. He was narrowly beaten by Anthony Kan of Richmond Hill. Mathieu Nepton of Jonquière, Quebec finished third.

"I set personal bests in my short and long (programs), so I was very happy," said Margalik, 15, who trains out of the Canadian Ice Academy in east Mississauga. "I came here just to have fun. I didn't come here for the outcome or placement, so the silver medal's just a bonus."

Margalik considers the medal even sweeter since he's overcoming Osgood-Schlatter disease, characterized by a painful swelling of the bump on the upper shinbone, just below the knee.

It's related to the extensive use of the quadriceps muscle during a child's growth spurt.

"I think it's almost gone," he said. "I haven't had any issues lately, so I'm happy with that. I feel like I'm finally ready to push my training even further than what I've been doing the last year."

Margalik scored an exceptional 105.89 points in his free program tonight and finished with an overall score of 164.60, considerably higher than his goal of 150.

He was second after yesterday's short program and was first tonight before Kan took the lead with a 106.87 free skate and 167.54 overall score.

The nationals were a breakthrough event for Margalik. He hasn't placed in the top 10 at a Skate Canada event since he finished 10th at the 2011 novice nationals.

Margalik has been struggling with knee problems since the summer of 2011. His coach, Robert O'Toole, was proud to see his pupil persevere not only from a physical standpoint, but a mental one as well.

"He has come back stronger in many aspects," said O'Toole. "This week, he really pulled it together. He used his mental skills and his ability to focus and that, for me, is a gold medal."

Throughout his struggles, Margalik still believed he was capable of reaching the podium at nationals.

"I put so much hard work into my training and it's just a matter of waiting for it to show," he said. "It looks like that finally happened this week."

Earlier today , Larkyn Austman of Coquitlam, B.C., won the junior women’s title. Kitchener's Marika Steward placed second while Campbellville's Madelyn Dunley finished third.

In the junior pair division, Acton's Hayleigh Bell and Stratford's Alistair Sylvester won gold and were followed by silver medalists Natasha Purich (Sherwood, Alberta) and Sebastian Arcieri (Montreal) and bronze medalists Mary Orr and Anthony Furiano, both from Brantford.

The B.C. pairing of Madeline Edwards and Zhao Kai Pang won junior dance gold. MacKenzie Bent of Uxbridge and Garrett MacKeen of Oshawa took silver while Burnaby's Caelen Dalmer and Vancouver's Shane Firus were the bronze medalists.

The senior competition begins tomorrow and ends Sunday.

icolpitts@mississauga.net