HOCKEY

ECHL: Michael McNicholas broke a 3-3 tie with his goal 2:09 into the third period and the Maine Mariners scored three third-period goals to pull away for a 6-3 ECHL victory over the Brampton Beast on Friday night in front of 4,047 at the Cross Ice Arena.

The Mariners (5-4-0-1) jumped out quickly in the first period with goals from Ryan Ferrill and Taylor Cammarata, while Greg Chase added a goal early in the second. Then Brampton (8-5-0) roared back with three goals late in a span of 3:38.

Ryan Culkin had a third-period goal for Maine and Cammarata added an insurance goal in the final two minutes.

BASKETBALL

HALL OF FAME: Bill Russell finally accepted his Basketball Hall of Fame ring. The 11-time NBA champion, five-time MVP, Olympic gold medalist and two-time NCAA champ said on Twitter on Friday that he was presented with his Hall of Fame ring in a private ceremony.

The 85-year-old Boston Celtics great didn’t attend the induction ceremony in 1975. He said he didn’t deserve to be the first black player inducted, tweeting: “I felt others before me should have that honor.”

His tweet mentions Chuck Cooper, who in 1950 was the first African-American player drafted by the NBA and who was inducted this year.

Russell said the ceremony was attended by his wife, along with close friends and Hall of Famers Bill Walton, Ann Meyers and Alonzo Mourning.

BASEBALL

MAJOR LEAGUES: According to reports, the Pittsburgh Pirates have agreed to hire Ben Cherington as their general manager.

Pittsburgh scheduled a news conference on Monday to introduce its new GM without revealing the person’s identity. Cherington will replace Neal Huntington, who was hired in September 2007 and fired in October.

Now 45, Cherington took over from Theo Epstein as GM of the Boston Red Sox in October 2011. Cherington helped the Red Sox win the 2013 Series but left in August 2015 when Boston hired Dave Dombrowski as president of baseball operations. Boston finished last in the AL East in three of Cherington’s four seasons as GM.

Cherington has been Toronto’s vice president of baseball operations under GM Ross Atkins since September 2016.

• Jake Odorizzi watched Dallas Keuchel remain on the free-agent market until June and didn’t want to take a chance of lingering without a contract. So he accepted the Minnesota Twins’ $17.8 million qualifying offer for a one-year contact and put himself in position to become a free agent again after the 2020 season.

TENNIS

ATP FINALS: Defending champion Alexander Zverev secured the last semifinal spot at the ATP Finals on Friday in London, eliminating Rafael Nadal in the process.

Zverev beat already eliminated Daniil Medvedev 6-4, 7-6 (4) to finish second behind Stefanos Tsitsipas in the group and set up a semifinal against Dominic Thiem.

Earlier, Nadal stayed in contention by rallying to beat Tsitsipas 6-7 (4), 6-4, 7-5 for his second win of the round-robin stage. But Zverev’s win left him, Nadal, and Tsitispas with identical 2-1 records – with the top-ranked Spaniard eliminated based on the tournament’s tiebreaker rules.

It means only one of tennis’ Big Three made the semifinals as Novak Djokovic was also eliminated on Thursday. Tsitsipas will face six-time champion Roger Federer in the first semifinal on Saturday.

SOCCER

CONCACAF: Sergino Dest set up a goal in the second minute of his American competitive debut, Gyasi Zardes scored twice and the United States overwhelmed Canada early in a 4-1 CONCACAF Nations League match on Friday night in Orlando, Florida.

A month after Canada embarrassed the Americans with a 2-0 victory at Toronto for its first win over the Americans since 1985, Jordan Morris, Zardes and Aaron Long scored as the U.S. built a 3-0 halftime lead.

MLS: The contract of Portland Timbers forward Brian Fernandez’s has been terminated and he been removed from Portland’s roster.

The 25-year old Argentine voluntarily entered the MLS Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program last month and missed the team’s lone playoff game. Fernandez joined the Timbers in May, and he went on to score 11 goals in 19 appearances with the team. He was sidelined at the end of the season with what the team characterized as a stomach virus.

UEFA: Manchester City lost its attempt Friday to block an investigation into allegations it deceived UEFA while violating rules that monitor soccer club finances.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled that City’s appeal against UEFA’s handling of the investigation was inadmissible. The two-time defending Premier League champions tried to stop UEFA’s club finance panel from handling a referral by investigators to impose a punishment.

UEFA investigators had called for a severe penalty — that City be excluded from the Champions League for one season.

GOLF

NEDBANK GOLF CHALLENGE:  Zander Lombard shot a 7-under-par 65 to overtake fellow South African Louis Oosthuizen and take a two-shot lead after two rounds in Sun City, South Africa.

Lombard collected five birdies and an eagle on the par-5 No. 10 to move to 11 under par and put himself in contention for his maiden tour title at his country’s most prestigious tournament. Oosthuizen led by three after a first-round 63 despite struggling with kidney stones.

MAYAKOBA CLASSIC: Danny Lee was 10-under par through 13 holes and had to settle for a 9-under 62 on Friday for a one-shot lead in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

Lee shot 29 on the front nine of El Camaleon and started thinking about a sub-60 round when he birdied the par-5 13th hole. He then had a downhill birdie putt from 15 feet on the next hole. He ran that 3 feet by and missed it coming back. He finished with four pars.

Lee has a one-shot lead over Adam Long and Brendon Todd, who resurrected his career two weeks ago with a win in the Bermuda Championship.

– Staff and news service report

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