Freshman defenseman Rob O’Gara (BOS) has been a part of a Yale frosh class that has been instrumental in helping the school reach the Frozen Four, primarily due to their stepped up play and contributions. O’Gara has continually garnered more ice time which has also greatly benefited his development. The Nesconset, NY native has posted six points (all assists) in 35 games to date.
Hockey’s Future spoke with O’Gara after practice on Wednesday at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, PA.
Hockey's Future: Obviously, being a freshman, you’ve never played in an NCAA Tournament before. But to be playing in it and reaching the Frozen Four as a freshman has to feel pretty special.
Rob O'Gara: It’s unbelievable. Just having this experience the first year that you get here is amazing. Just to say that I’m thankful is an understatement. We still have some work to do, which is exciting, so we have to just keep playing.
HF: One of the things that I’ve noticed with the team has been how much you and the rest of the freshman class have really stepped up, particularly in the West Regional. How has the process been for all of you and how has that helped your progress?
RO: We have a very tight-knit class and I think that’s been really helpful in the transition process because there are seven other guys that you can look to if you had a question or needed anything. We’re always the first ones out there warming up and we work really hard as a group. As the year has gone on, it has translated to some success. So that’s what has been really exciting for us because we’re able to help the team try and win a national championship, and I think we’re playing with a lot of confidence right now too.
HF: You’ve been playing with Gus (Young) pretty much the entire year. What has it been like playing with him and what have you learned from him that has helped your development?
RO: Gus has been here for three years now, so he’s experienced all of this. Having a guy like Gus that has been through it all before and being able to ask him any question has probably been the greatest (learning) tool that I’ve had. He’s been so helpful. Whether it’s plays in the corners or playing the points, he knows it all. And if coach isn’t around, Gus is around to help me and answer my questions. So it’s been amazing playing with him.
HF: I know that you’re a prospect of the Boston Bruins. You’ve played prep hockey in New England and obviously play college hockey in New England, so what’s it like being a prospect of New England’s NHL team?
RO: I was playing at Milton (Academy) when the Bruins won the Stanley Cup, and to see that and have all these Bruins fans around you was pretty amazing. There was just a great buzz. Having been drafted by them (Bruins), having played up there (in the prospect camp) and staying in contact with those guys has been great. As a kid, you dream about stuff like that.
HF: What did you learn from their prospects camp that you’ve been able to bring back to Yale with you this season?
RO: I think one of the things was the speed with guys from other colleges, OHL and everywhere else. But having that in the summer and then playing with those kinds of guys throughout the summer and then coming here to Yale, I think definitely helped my transition and I was able to understand what the game was going to be like. It’s also helped my confidence, as well.
Follow DJ Powers on Twitter via @DJPowersHF