Shanghai, China (SportsNetwork.com) - Americans Madison Chock and Evan Bates took the lead in ice dancing at the world figure skating championships on Wednesday with a career-best score in the short dance.

Chock and Bates, the reigning U.S. champions, scored 74.47 points to edge Canadian rivals Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje. Defending world champions Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte of Italy sit in third.

"We are very happy with our performance today. We have a great group of coaches at home supporting us," said Bates. "We've never been more prepared or trained harder for a competition so that gives us the utmost confidence. Today we achieved all level fours and hope to do it again in the free dance."

Chock and Bates are attempting to become just the second American ice dancers to win gold at the world championships after Meryl Davis and Charlie White, who took the title in 2011 and 2013.