Marissa Tiel/ Kelowna Capital News Kelowna’s Erik Gardiner gets pushed into the boards behind the Seattle net. The Kelowna Rockets fell 9-6 to the Seattle Thunderbirds in regular season WHL action Oct. 10, 2018 at Prospera Place in Kelowna.

Victory for Seattle players with Kelowna roots

The Rockets lost 9-6 to the Seattle Thunderbirds Wednesday night.

It was a homecoming victory for a handful of Seattle Thunderbirds at Prospera Place Wednesday night.

Three of the visiting WHL team’s skaters have Kelowna ties including forward Zack Andrusiak, goalie Liam Hughes and backup goalie Cole Schwebius.

The Thunderbirds beat the host Kelowna Rockets 9-6.

“It’s a good win,” said Andrusiak. “Anytime you can win on the road, it feels nice. It’s good to get those big two points.”

The 20-year-old forward logged one goal and two assists in front of an army of supporters.

In the crowd were his parents, his girlfriend and her family, his trainer from Vernon and her family.

“My mom is actually from the Westside, so a lot of her family is here and they come to Rockets games,” he said. “I love it (playing in Kelowna). I get to see family and friends and it’s always fun playing here.”

Andrusiak and his family moved to Armstrong from Saskatchewan when he was 13 and he soon started skating with the Pursuit of Excellence Hockey Academy.

He made the jump to WHL full-time in the 2016-17 season with the Seattle Thunderbirds, when they became the WHL Champions for the first time in 40 years.

Playing in Kelowna remains special for Andrusiak. He attended games as a young hockey player at the Pursuit of Excellence Hockey Academy.

“When you’re a young kid, you want to play in the WHL and getting to play in this rink a few times when I was a kid, it makes you want to play even more,” he said. “It’s pretty fun to be able to come back here and play.”

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Marissa Tiel/ Kelowna Capital News Seattle’s Zack Andrusiak (20) waits for the puck drop. The Kelowna Rockets fell 9-6 to the Seattle Thunderbirds in regular season WHL action Oct. 10, at Prospera Place in Kelowna.

Marissa Tiel/ Kelowna Capital News Kelowna’s Mark Liwiski skates the puck into the Seattle end. The Kelowna Rockets fell 9-6 to the Seattle Thunderbirds in regular season WHL action Oct. 10, at Prospera Place in Kelowna.

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