HOCKEY

Bobby Lynch scored the go-ahead goal in the second period, Todd Skirving added a short-handed goal less than three minutes later, and the Newfoundland Growlers skated to a 4-2 win Friday night against the Maine Mariners in an ECHL game at Cross Insurance Arena.

Lynch’s goal at 13:39 of the second came just 29 seconds after Maine’s Justin Brazeau tied the game at 1-1.

Marc-Olivier Duquette also scored for the Mariners, and Jeremy Brodeur made 32 saves.

SOCCER

WORLD CUP QUALIFYING: European champion Italy and Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal were drawn in the same World Cup qualifying playoffs bracket, meaning at least one of them will miss next year’s tournament in Qatar.

Italy, No. 6 in the FIFA world rankings, will face North Macedonia at home in a playoff semifinal next March, and the winner will play away at either No. 8 Portugal or Turkey for a spot in the World Cup.

Also in the 12-team draw, Scotland will face Ukraine at home, and the winner will play at Wales or Austria.

Russia will host Poland for the right to face Sweden or the Czech Republic in their bracket final.

• The fourth-place team from North and Central American and the Caribbean will play the Oceania champion in a one-game playoff for a World Cup berth.

The fifth-place nation from South America will play the fifth-place team from Asia for another berth, FIFA said. Both games will played on June 13 or June 14 in Qatar at venues being prepared for next autumn’s World Cup.

GOLF

DP WORLD TOUR: A batch of British and Irish golfers withdrew from the Joburg Open before Friday’s second round after the U.K. government announced it was banning flights from South Africa to counter the spread of a new COVID-19 variant.

The inaugural season of the DP World Tour, previously the European Tour, started Thursday, but more than a dozen players pulled out of the tournament because of the new restrictions, tour spokesman Steve Todd confirmed.

Joburg Open organizers said after Friday’s second round was suspended because of fading light that the tournament would be shortened to 54 holes and finish Saturday to give players and staff more time to organize travel back to their home countries.

South African golfer Thriston Lawrence shot a 6-under 65 for the second day in a row, opening a four-stroke lead over compatriot Zander Lombard (67).

BASEBALL

MLB: The New York Mets and All-Star infielder Eduardo Escobar have agreed to a free-agent contract, according to a person familiar with the deal.

MLB Network reported the contract will pay Escobar $20 million over two years.

Escobar, 32, was a first-time All-Star in 2021, when he batted .253 with 28 homers, 90 RBI and a .786 OPS for Arizona and Milwaukee.

TENNIS

DAVIS CUP: Top-ranked Novak Djokovic secured a victory for Serbia, 40-year-old Feliciano Lopez got defending champion Spain off to a solid start, and a young Italian team rolled past the United States in the Davis Cup Finals.

Djokovic beat Dennis Novak 6-3, 6-2 to give Serbia a 2-0 lead over host Austria, after Dusan Lajovic defeated Gerald Melzer in three sets.

Lopez gave Spain an early lead over Ecuador with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Roberto Quiroz at home in Madrid. Then Pablo Carreno Busta edged Emilio Gomez 5-7, 6-3, 7-6 (5).

The United States, meanwhile, got off to a rough start against host Italy in Turin. Lorenzo Sonego beat Reilly Opelka 6-3, 7-6 (4), and Jannik Sinner dominated against John Isner, 6-2, 6-0. Rajeev Ram and Jack Sock beat Fabio Fognini and Lorenzo Musetti in doubles 7-6 (5), 6-2 to make the final score 2-1.

SKIING

MEN’S WORLD CUP: The first of two downhills in Lake Louise, Alberta, was canceled because of too much snow.

About 10 inches fell overnight and an additional four inches were expected Friday at the ski resort in Banff National Park, west of Calgary.

A second downhill is scheduled for Saturday, followed by a super-G on Sunday.


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