BOSTON – Brian Flynn received the puck about where second baseman Dustin Pedroia would field a ground ball.

No throw to Adrian Gonzalez, however. Instead, Flynn went top shelf.

The University of Maine hockey team practiced for an hour Friday at Fenway Park, preparing for tonight’s 7:30 game with the University of New Hampshire, part of the Frozen Fenway doubleheader that also features Massachusetts against Vermont at 4 p.m.

The Maine players posed for pictures before practice, then took to the rink that stretched across the infield, third base to first.

“As soon as I stepped out there, I thought that it was like a pond,” senior defenseman and captain Will O’Neill said.

O’Neill, from Salem, Mass., said he visited Fenway often as a kid, with his father and brother.

“My dad would throw me over his shoulders, buy two tickets and we’d walk in,” O’Neill said. “Every year we go to a couple of games. I love the Red Sox. It’s a privilege to be here.”

O’Neill got an extra treat for this Fenway event because Maine won a coin toss, receiving the Red Sox clubhouse for its locker room.

“I got Big Papi’s stall. I’m pretty jacked up about that,” he said.

Flynn, Maine’s other captain, is from Lynnfield, Mass. And, yeah, it may be cool to play at Fenway Park but this is also a Hockey East game for the Black Bears, who are trying to climb in the standings.

“We’re going to go about it like it’s a regular league game with two big points up for grabs,” Flynn said.

Maine is 9-7-2 overall and 6-6-1 in the league. After a slow start, the Black Bears have won six of their past seven games.

During that slow start, the Black Bears lost a 3-2 decision to New Hampshire at Durham, N.H., on Nov. 5.

But the Wildcats (6-10-1, 4-7-1) have struggled this year.

“We’ve played pretty well but we’re just finding ways to lose,” said senior forward Stevie Moses.

UNH features the second-worst defense (allowing 3.5 goals a game) in the league. Coach Dick Umile said he will start freshman goalie Casey DeSmith, who has played only three games (one start).

Maine has allowed four goals in its last three games and goalie Dan Sullivan (2.73 goals-against average) continues to be the Black Bears’ cornerstone.

“The big part for us is that he’s playing great,” O’Neill said. “He’s made some big-time saves and that’s a lift for us.”

Maine Coach Tim Whitehead doesn’t care about the Wildcats’ struggles in goal or their losing record.

“Anytime Maine and UNH play each other,” Whitehead said, “I don’t care where the game is or what time. We could drop the puck at 6 a.m. at a (youth) rink and I think it would still be pretty intense.”

Whitehead said it was a “slam dunk” to give up an Orono game to play in Fenway. “It’s obviously a very unique setting,” he said.

While the team practiced in the 40-degree weather, Red Sox pitcher Rich Hill worked out in right field, the lush Fenway grass providing quite the contrast to the frozen rink. During practice, a news helicopter flew overhead.

“I thought the helicopter was pretty good,” Whitehead said. “Everyone knows there will be distractions. We’ll try not to let those affect us.”

Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be contacted at 791-6411 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: KevinThomasPPH