BostonBruins.com — Rob O'Gara admits it.
|O'Gara at Dev Camp '12 (photo: Babineau). |
"We all hate Harvard," said O'Gara. "But I know a few guys on the team.
"So a little friendly rivalry there, but obviously a big, great tradition there; a lot of hatred between the two.
"It was great to be out there," explained O'Gara after the Elis' 5-1 win over the Crimson last Saturday in Boston. "A great atmosphere."
However, O'Gara knows that one rivalry game victory doesn't make a career and the Bulldogs' freshman blueliner has a desire to make the most of his time in New Haven.
"Our goal is to win the Ivy League, win the ECAC, and win the National Championship," said the young defenseman, who was selected in the 2011 draft (5th round, 151st overall). "I want to be as big of an impact player in that as I can be.
"Work hard every day and we can get there," he added.
In terms of making a big impact, the 6-foot-3, 185-pound O'Gara already cuts quite a figure on the ice in New Haven. But the first year Bulldog knows that he'll need to bring more to the rink as his collegiate career continues.
"Really, just getting bigger, faster, and stronger," said O'Gara of his long term goals. "The first couple of months have been amazing.
"And to come together, and beat Harvard like that, that was awesome. It was a good culmination of our hard work we put in this fall."
However, according to O'Gara's head coach, the big young blueliner's impact should go beyond October and November of 2012.
"I think he’s going to grow into that role," said Yale's bench boss Keith Allain. "As a freshman playing in that position, we’re keeping it simple for him, but as he gets more confident, more comfortable with the pace of college hockey, which is a little different than prep school hockey, I think you’ll see him grow."
O'Gara might be well over six foot, but he's looking to fill out his sweater in the short run.
"He’s big, but he’s still pretty slight," said Allain. "He likes to play a physical game, and we see Robbie as a solid two-way defenseman.
"A guy that can play on the power play, kill penalties, and be real effective in all aspects of the power play."
But first things first: O'Gara is still a freshman and knows he has plenty to learn at Yale.
"It’s definitely a lot faster," said the Bruins prospect of the collegiate game. "Practices have helped a lot. [Although] it’s really hard to replicate the game speed in practice. But every practice, we go as hard as we can, even Thursdays before games.
"I think that really helps the transition to the ice, especially coming form the prep level.
"But last weekend, this weekend, it’s been an adjustment, but it’s coming easier and easier every day," he said.