B's prospect and 2013 National Champion Rob O'Gara is in his third year at Bruins development camp after being selected by the Black & Gold in the fifth round (151st overall) of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.
O'Gara has been kind enough to agree to keep a players blog to share his day-to-day experience during his time at Bruins Development Camp.
The defenseman joins camp after his first season at Yale, where he recorded seven assists in 37 games. The blueliner also had an assist and was on the ice for all four of the Bulldogs' goals in the NCAA National Championship Final against Quinnipiac University.
The 6'4'', 205-pound defenseman hails from Smithtown, NY.
O’Gara Blog – Entry 3 – Champion Bulldog
I started my hockey career with the Long Island Royals as a kid and I actually got cut by them my minor year when I was 13. That was not a great year; I played basketball instead. You know, it’s hard to recognize at that age but it acted as motivation and I kept working.
After my second U16 year with the Royals, I was approached by the Milton coach, so I headed up there. There were a lot of Long Island kids on that team: Pat McNally, Sean Dougherty. We had a lot of success my junior year there, we won the New England Championship. However, my senior year, we weren’t that great.
But then, going into Yale and having Bruins Development Camp during the summer, there’s a great speed adjustment. Attending this kind of camp and then going into the year at Yale made the adjustment easier, where as some people would say it’s a big jump from high school to college.
The summer going into 11th grade, I visited Yale strictly as a student with my parents and I loved it. When I was approached by their coach and I got an offer to go there and play, it was really a no brainer. It would have been hard to say no.
To get to the National Championship was definitely our goal but to say that I expected it would be a complete lie. Meeting the older guys, right away they said, “We want to win the Ivy League, we want to win the ECAC and we want to win the National Championship.” That was our goal throughout the whole year and even though we stumbled through the ECAC tournament. Once we got in to the big tournament, it was just one game at a time, we had nothing to lose. Once we got there, we knew we could take it.
We lost to Quinnipiac the three times we played them during the regular season, so we talked about that a lot. Not talking about losing as much as talking about how we had never played our ‘A’ game against them. We never got the breaks and we never put it all together, so I think that gave use even more confidence going into the Championship game. It also helped that we were playing great at the time, being hot, riding a hot goalie in Jeff Malcolm and really having all that come together at once. We knew that if we played our best game, then they wouldn’t be able to handle us. It just all clicked at the right time.
I happened to be on the ice right in front of our goalie and he threw all of his stuff off and I kind of took a second to register, “wow, we did it”. Just celebrating with my teammates right on the ice and that night, it was amazing. Especially for the senior class because they deserved it more than anyone I’ve ever met. They are just a hard working group.
It’s hard to go in to the next year and not want that again. If that’s not motivation enough to do it again then I don’t know what is. It was really just an incredible experience with a great group of guys. Coming here to Development Camp and playing at the highest level, keeping that sort of momentum and that mindset, I think it really helps me stay calm and collected on the ice.
--As told to Jenna Gilberti