HAMILTON, ONTARIO, SEPT. 7 -- The oldest player on each hockey team will carry a disproportionate share of the load as underdog Sweden and Czechoslovakia try to scramble the script in the fourth Canada Cup.

Goaltenders Peter Lindmark, 31, and Dominik Hasek, 32, have played every minute of every Canada Cup game for the Swedes and Czechs, respectively. Their play has ranged from excellent to sensational.

Each will need to be near the sensational end of the scale as Sweden faces the Soviet Union here Tuesday and Czechoslovakia challenges Canada in Montreal Wednesday in sudden-death semifinals. The best-of-three final begins Friday in Montreal.

Lindmark permitted 14 goals in five round-robin games and was superb in Sweden's 5-3 upset of the Soviets in the tournament opener. Incredibly, despite years of success at home, Lindmark never has been drafted by a National Hockey League team. He will be playing his 115th international game for Sweden on Tuesday.

"We know he is the best in the world, no matter what others think," said Swedish winger Mats Naslund. "He never seems to give up a bad goal."

Despite its status as reigning world champion and the memory of that earlier triumph over the Soviets, Sweden is given little chance in Tuesday's contest.

When the Swedes arrived here late this afternoon from Sydney, Nova Scotia -- via Halifax and Toronto -- they were completing their fifth straight long-distance air journey to play a team that was sitting in place awaiting them. The Swedish coach, Tom Sandlin, clearly is unhappy with the setup.

"The word scandal is not strong enough to describe the way the organizers have treated us," Swedish press quoted the usually low-key Sandlin. "We have traveled 9,000 kilometers {5,600 miles} to play while Canada has played almost all their matches in the same area.

"This is not sports, it is business where everything is arranged so that Canada and Soviet Union will reach the final. I would have preferred to meet Canada in the semi. Then we could have knocked them out and ruined the set-up 'dream final' for the organizer, Alan Eagleson."

Sweden appeared very tired in Sunday's 3-1 victory over Finland. It was outplayed much of the way by the winless Finns and only Lindmark's acrobatic play averted a defeat and elimination.

"We've been traveling from Alberta to Ontario to Saskatchewan to Quebec to Nova Scotia," Naslund said. "The conditioning is no problem, but you get a little empty in the head after a while."

Although the Swedes played Sunday afternoon in Sydney, they could not leave Nova Scotia afterward because the semifinal pairings were not determined until Canada tied the Soviet Union, 3-3, here Sunday night and finished first in the round-robin phase of the tournament.

It had been stipulated even before Sunday's results were in that Canada, win or lose, would not play until Wednesday. So when Wayne Gretzky's late goal tied the Soviet Union, Sweden as No. 3 team not only was matched against the runner-up Soviets, but was forced to play here Tuesday.

Sweden's neutral-ice play had the Soviets disorganized in the earlier meeting, but the Swedes relied on speed and they may not have it Tuesday, after all that travel.

Hasek is the key to Czechoslovakia's somewhat surprising appearance in the medal round. He stopped 36 shots, 18 in the final period, as the Czechs turned back the United States, 3-1, Sunday night in Sydney. Hasek kept his finger in the dike until Jiri Hrdina, scheduled to join the Calgary Flames after the 1988 Olympics, eased the pressure on a shorthanded goal with less than four minutes to play.

Hasek, thin and wiry at 6 feet and 160 pounds, had a good night against Canada in the tournament opener as Czechoslovakia escaped with a 4-4 tie. That result gives the Czechs some hope of springing another surprise on Wednesday. The Canadians feel otherwise.

"Our team will be well prepared this time," said Coach Mike Keenan. "We're looking forward to it. We didn't think we played very well in the first game and we want to make up for it."

"I think we'll handle the Czechs with a little more smarts," said defenseman Larry Murphy. "They took advantage of outmanned situations last time, but we'll be ready Wednesday."

"It's good to get another shot at the Czechs," said winger Mike Gartner, Murphy's fellow Washington Capital on Team Canada. "We didn't play well last time. The Swedes are a better hockey team. I'm sure the Russians would have rather played the Czechs."