HAMILTON, ONTARIO, AUG. 31 -- Sweden, flying high after its conquest of the Soviet Union, came crashing to earth tonight. The United States built a four-goal lead in the first 33 minutes and controlled the Swedes, 5-2, to assume first place in the round-robin phase of the fourth Canada Cup.

Ed Olczyk, knocked out by a Bengt Gustafsson check in the first minute, woke up in time to set up the first U.S. goal and score the second. Goalie John Vanbiesbrouck blocked 26 shots, including Anders Carlsson's breakaway with the United States ahead by 1-0, to earn player of the game honors.

It was sweet revenge for the United States, which was crushed by Sweden, 9-2, in the semifinals of the 1984 Canada Cup. It also gave the Americans considerable momentum heading into Wednesday's key game here against Canada.

There was danger in overreacting to the marvelous U.S. effort, though. After celebrating Saturday's triumph over the Soviets, the Swedes endured a Sunday flight here from Calgary. The United States, by contrast, had been resting since chartering in from Hartford Friday night.

"Sure, traveling makes a difference; it's always nice to be waiting for somebody," said Gustafsson who will play again for the Washington Capitals this season. "And we were a little flat, but I don't blame it on the Russian game.

"{The United States} played excellent. They played the kind of game we wanted to play and we fell into their trap. They took advantage of their chances in the second period, and it's hard to come from that far back when they're stringing four people across the blue line."

The U.S. team surprised itself with that big early lead. The game plan, with super scorer Pat LaFontaine skating gingerly on a puffy knee, was to play tight defense and wait for a break.

"We wanted to play the way we did against Finland {a 4-1 victory Friday} -- play pretty good defense and create some opportunities," said U.S. Coach Bob Johnson. "I thought we played very well defensively and we created more opportunities than we expected. We certainly didn't expect to get a 4-0 lead."

Both teams played tight defense in the first period, and the only score resulted from Bob Carpenter's goal-mouth conversion of Olczyk's pass from behind the goal line.

In the second period, however, the United States unloaded 17 shots at Peter Lindmark and scored three times, in each case from a few feet away by players jamming the Swedish net.

Olczyk redirected Joel Otto's centering pass out of the right wing corner; Chris Nilan converted Phil Housley's feed from the rear boards, and Bob Brooke deflected Rod Langway's drive from the left point.

Gustafsson finally put Sweden on the scoreboard late in the second period, netting a second midair swipe at a Mats Naslund pass out of the left wing corner after goalie Lindmark gave his team a lift by foiling two shorthanded breakaways by Carpenter, 27 seconds apart.

Joe Mullen cruised down the slot to make it 5-1 early in the third period, effectively ending any Swedish comeback hopes. Naslund then completed the scoring on a 40-footer that slipped between the legs of Gustafsson, who was screening Vanbiesbrouck.

A battery of lights went out with 11:16 remaining, but after a five-minute delay, play was resumed anyway, on the correct assumption that the result already was certain.

Olczyk's lights went out much earlier, when Gustafsson decked him with a solid check and Olczyk's neck snapped against the boards.

"It was really scary," Olczyk said. "I was thinking about collecting my disability. I lost feeling in my neck and shoulder when I got jammed against the boards. When I got my breath back, I felt a lot better."

Gustafsson was assessed a two-minute boarding penalty by Vladimir Subrt, the Czechoslovakian referee, although Olczyk admitted he was just caught off balance and the check was clean.

"All I could do was laugh," Gustafsson said. "But it upset the whole team to start with four players. That's life."

As usual, the Capitals' Langway, the U.S. captain, contributed more than just his physical presence on the ice.

"We had a terrible warmup, but Rod Langway came in {the dressing room} and gave everybody a lot of crap," Olczyk said. "He reminded us about that 9-2 loss to the Swedes in '84, and we weren't about to let that happen again."